Gift to graduate inspires reply in kind
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Apr 25, 2013 | 882 views | 0 0 comments | 133 133 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ron Swift
Ron Swift
Now here’s a story that deserves retelling.

Three years ago, at about this time in the spring, a student at Del Puerto High School was observed having a long face. When questioned about it, he noted that he hadn’t the money to go on the annual trip to Disneyland taken by graduates.

It seems that his father had been unemployed for some time and left the community with his mother, leaving the young man with his grandparents. He hadn’t heard from his parents since.

So an anonymous party came up with the necessary funds, only to learn that he hadn’t any clothes or spending money for the Disneyland trip. The anonymous donor helped out with that, too.

After his graduation from the local continuation school, the young man joined the Army, and he is now serving in Afghanistan.

Just recently, he sent a message to Del Puerto requesting that some senior at the school who was in similar unfortunate circumstances be sent to Disneyland — on him. He’s forwarding the money.

Just goes to show that given an opportunity, some young people respond in kind.

Just what we all need

An advertisement arrived in the mail this week listing a wristwatch all of us surely need.

It is hooked up with an atomic clock in Colorado and guarantees no more than a second’s deviation in the next 80 million years.

That’s right, 80 million.

Not only that, but it is water-resistant to 300 feet, resets when daylight saving time changes, will chime every hour if you want it to, has three alarm settings a day, and — well, much more.

Unfortunately, I’ll have to pass. I don’t plan living 80 million years, and if I go underwater 300 feet, it will only be accidental and I won’t need the watch. Who dreams up these inventions?

Join the crowd

President Barack Obama was irate last week when the Senate turned down a proposal requiring background checks on certain gun purchases.

He strongly castigated the elected officials for pursuing their personal political agendas rather than supporting a proposal backed by an overwhelming majority of Americans.

Join the crowd, Mr. President. Many of us have long recognized that many in Congress place themselves first and the rest of us a poor second on a vast array of important issues.

Getting re-elected is their No. 1 priority, and their constituents be damned.

90-plus list at 65

Our list of 90-plus residents recently dropped to 65 with the death Feb. 1 of Luis Pugo Ochoa.

And a couple on the list have observed birthdays not long ago. Vera Bettencourt turned 95, while Laurence Kolding rolled over 94. A belated congratulations.

This is a no-no

Many readers undoubtedly read in the daily press about a judge in Michigan fining himself $25 for contempt of court.

Yep, and he paid the fine. You see, his cellphone went off during a trial while he was on the bench.

Then, up in Oregon, a judge gave a juror a couple of nights in jail for texting during a trial. Guess he hadn’t heard about the judge in Michigan.


Let’s be historically savvy

Those readers who have for many months been using Fast Talk’s educational offerings as a means of improving their minds should now turn their attention to history.

It is assumed you know all about the French Revolution, the War of 1812, the British-Argentine argument over the Falkland Islands, the family disagreement between the Hatfields and McCoys and the more recent conflict in Grenada. So our lesson will turn elsewhere, providing you with practical information of historical significance.

Q: Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called “passing the buck?”

A: Once upon a time in card games, it was customary to pass an item called a “buck” — perhaps from buckskin or buckhorn — from player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not wish to assume the responsibility of dealing, he would “pass the buck” to the next player.

Q: Why do X’s at the end of a letter signify kisses?

A: In the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X. It’s said that kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.

Q: Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?

A: It used to be common for a person to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for the guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both would then drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would only touch or clink the host’s glass with his own.

So when a guest pours a spot of his drink into your glass, you know what’s he’s thinking.

Don’t you feel a lot smarter?

For the sports fan

The Colorado Rockies are having difficulty getting games played in Denver. Too much snow.

Early this week, they played a doubleheader to make up a game. The temperature when the first game began was 23 degrees. We assume that to be plus-23.

And finally…

Someone said, “The irony of life is that by the time you’re old enough to know your way around, you’re not going anywhere.”

Smart guy, that Someone. (Yeah, I know it could have been a woman, but I choose to live dangerously.)

Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at

Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet

We encourage your online comments in this public forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a forum for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Readers may report such inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at