Ideas are moving. Groundwork is being laid. People are getting involved. You can feel the enthusiasm and accelerating pace in the air.
The same thing occurred some 45 years ago – back in the late 1960s. Then not much over 3000 in population, our city had experienced an economic slump when the construction workers on the I-5 and California Aqueduct projects finished the jobs and moved on. The jolt was felt for a couple of years before the pendulum swung the other way.
When it did, everything seemed to take off. Downtown business was good, homes were virtually unattainable to buy or rent, the schools soared in enrollment, and human dispositions brightened noticeably.
It was at this time that the Patterson Township Historical Society was formed. Patterson’s founding was definitely a historical event, but it took 60 years to recognize that fact with an organization dedicated to preserving that history.
Then came 1971. Longtime Pattersonites certainly remember that year in our history.
It started with the realization that Patterson High needed an upgraded football stadium. The lights at the old field were inadequate. But rather than upgrade them, the community got behind a volunteer project that constructed a spanking new stadium – still one of the best in the valley. It was ready to use that fall of 1971.
In the same year, Patterson started a community celebration. The first Apricot Fiesta was held over the Fourth of July weekend. It started small and has grown dramatically over the decades. Along with the stadium work, it made for a busy summer.
Now back to the present. Similar vibes are currently being felt.
City Hall has organized a visitors or tourism committee that is exploring ideas to boost Patterson’s offerings. And do we have offerings? You should see the list already being discussed. Could we support a visitors’ center? We’ll see.
And the Historical Society is making rumbles about an antique farm equipment museum. I can only report that interest is growing rapidly.
In addition the city is expected to very soon contract with a firm that will conduct a visioning study of Patterson’s downtown. Just what do we want our unique and somewhat historic downtown to become? That will be studied very soon.
And previously mentioned is the revival of the local Chamber of Commerce. Like many small town chambers, it has fallen on hard times in recent years. But efforts are currently underway to change that. After all, Patterson had a chamber of commerce 100 years ago when local businesses numbered fewer than 25. It can certainly support one now.
So keep your horse saddled up and get ready to ride. I predict some good things happening in Patterson in the very near future.
NUMBER IS GROWING
That would be our list of 90-plussers. Three more join the list, making the head count an amazing 77 and ready for more.
Let’s start with Sverre Osnes who turned 90 back in February. He’s a Patterson High graduate and longtime local businessman whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for 51 of those years.
And this list has been missing Adeline Kempton, who hit the nine-decade mark last July. She’s resided here 58 years.
The newcomer – and welcome to town – is Les Williams. He’s 94 years spry and you may have been reading about him. He was one of the Tuskegee Airmen, a much-honored black flying group back in WWII.
Keep the names comin’.
We do have a cell phone at our house. It’s not mine and I don’t use it.
Late last week I noticed it stuffed into a bag of rice at the end of the kitchen counter. It had gone through the laundry and was on life-support.
I’m not eating rice at our house in the foreseeable future.
CAN’T GET ALONG
Now the Russians can’t get along with their neighbors, the Ukrainians. Another bloodbath looms. Add it to the long list of killings being experienced in that part of the world.
Just imagine how the small Baltic nations of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia must feel. All three were a part of the Soviet Union and as Russia’s neighbors, all are vulnerable.
A book on the history of the world says something like this: Humans weren’t here at the beginning of the world, and won’t be here when it ends.
Could that be? Given our growth in military technology, would we ever let another species wipe us off the face of the Earth?
Probably not. If any species does destroy us, it will undoubtedly be our own.
(And you thought I was going to again write about the Patterson City Councilmembers not getting along. Nope, not this week.)
What would the reporting gang on CNN have talked about for seven weeks had the Malaysian plane and South Korean ferry tragedies not occurred?
Sorry, I almost forgot about the disastrous landslide that wiped out that little town in Washington. Boy, can CNN ever stretch a story.
E-MAIL OF THE WEEK
Readers send me e-mails. So do non-readers. Friends too, and sometimes those not so friendly.
They come from as far away as Florida and Hawaii, and occasionally from Ontario, Canada.
The average is approaching 50-a-day. Some are funny jokes; others are political. (I seldom read these.) I like those that are enlightening (I’m a nut for statistics and weird facts) and avoid those that are downright sick.
So this week …
Did you know “dammit I’m mad” spelled backwards is “dammit I’m mad”? I didn’t either.
FOR THE SPORTS FAN
Has the NBA somewhere along the line changed the rules for the traveling call?
AND FINALLY …
Remember, grandchildren are God’s reward for not killing your own children.
Wish I had written that first.
Ron Swift is the editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.