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A doff of the cap

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A doff of the cap

Isabella Pires, Taylor Barnes, and Jaycee Rieb at St.Anthony’s Father/Daughter Dance.

Photo contributed/

POSTED January 30, 2014 1:15 a.m.

A sincere thank you to everyone that enjoyed the first installment of “Manteca to a T.” Hearing from my Grandmother that Earl “The Pearl” Pimentel was proud of his former student’s column or being forwarded a message from coach Joe Handy – “Teicheira you’re like a Virginia Slim. You’ve come a long way, baby!” – had me walking tall and proud for a day … until I stopped by my mother’s house for dinner Friday night.

My younger sister Andrea had received an e-mail from a friend. She had a sheepish grin as she revealed it, and I sensed what was coming. “OK, as with many others, I have never been a fan of your brother. Not at all. But what a wonderful article he wrote.”

It was written by a classmate of hers (my sister was two years behind me in school), someone that from my recollection I’ve shared 20 words with in my life. Andrea was hesitant to laugh, as she was curious as to how I’d react. I wondered internally, “Why the backhanded compliment? Did he/she overhear an off-color remark I made at an orchard party in ’91? Was there a mutual friend that never got her second date?”

There were MANY OTHER questions. Are there weekly meetings? Is this a group my nephew should join to bolster his college transcripts? And, as my mother and sisters buzzed like protective bees, I rattled off four to five regrettable decisions/events that I have made in Manteca, and the buzz slowly died. Do I deserve judgment by a person that truthfully doesn’t know me from Adam?

Small-town opinions warranted or not, are just as easily formulated via word of mouth, as they are by firsthand knowledge. The truth is, if you live in a small town, either mind your P’s and Q’s or grow thick skin, because people will base their opinions of you on whom you were 25 years ago. If a person hasn’t seen you change first hand, you may always be considered a jerk at an orchard party. It’s an unfortunate aspect of human nature.

We’ve all chosen to live in the proverbial pastures of Manteca, and not everybody is going to like the way you “graze,” so just try to be cordial and affable around the water trough or you may be culled from the herd. And to the “many others” that were able to enjoy my first column, in spite of my “grazing” history, I say “Moo.”

Crabtastic Times

Crab feed season is in full swing. I made my way to the Roberts-Union Farm Center. The Center was the social hub of its era during the 1930s and 40s. Portuguese dairymen and Italian farmers came from miles around in hopes of finding a future Mrs. Silva or Rossi. Nic “The Farmerino” Mussi argued with Eddie “Dairyboy” Machado over the need to milk cows twice a day.

“It seems a bit overkill,” Nic said. “If you love milk that much, just head to the grocery store. Those places are full of it.”

The Prince of Pumpkins, George Perry, was seen mingling around the farm center, much the way his grandfather George “The Pumpkin King” Perry did in the 40’s.The younger George made the auction purchase of the night – a labradoodle puppy. The bidding was fast and furious, as many a male attendee attempted to purchase the puppy in hopes of impressing their female counterparts.

All but The Prince landed in the doghouse. He wanted friends to know, “You can’t put a price on protecting your pumpkin patch and my pup will for years to come.” However, he added that pumpkin prices will go up 200% this year to cover feeding and grooming costs.


Punt, Pass and Kick XVII

As the story goes, on the morn of Super Bowl Sunday 1998, four brave men – Mark Condit and Dan Eavenson (1981 and ’86 Manteca High graduates, respectively), along with Matt Atilano and Rob Miller (both ’91 grads of that “other high school”) – decided to answer that time-honored question, “What one of us can punt, pass, and kick a football farther?”

And so the pantheon of legends was born!

Seventeen years later, Mark Condit’s band of friends, miscreants, and former Valley Oak League kings come together for a morning of camaraderie!

If you’d like to participate or would just enjoy seeing some of the “Legends of Manteca” grasp at glory (rumor has it Tim “Spanky” Beattie, widely considered by me as the greatest running back in Manteca history, is being chartered in on Pete Nelson’s private jet) all you need to bring is a jersey and positive attitude to the Button Avenue park on Sunday at 10 a.m.

Who will get to wear the vaunted WEENEE jersey for 2014? Will Matt Atilano retain his title? He took his first WEENEE home last year after 16 years of futility, the first “other HS” champ in PPK history. The smart money is on “Big” Dan Eavenson, who won the first two and is long overdue.

See You Sunday!

Let’s get interactive

Manteca has seen many restaurants come and go through the years. Which is your all-time favorite and why? Senor Campos in the 70’s instantly pops to mind – great Mexican food and individual televisions at each table. Yup, just for 10 cents the Fonz was eating with you. Ayyye!

Out and about

Stepping foot into one of Manteca’s many waterholes after 6 p.m. can take on the look of the Island of Misfit Toys with each spot having its own resident Burl Ives ready to narrate the day’s happenings.

Upon Warren Lewis’ arrival to one such spot, Lucky Baldwin was quick to point out “for a guy with arms the size of trees, Warren sure does wear a lot of pastels.” Warren insists it is faded neon. Sure. …

Rumors of new ownership at the Roosterjuice were being tossed about during the new year, then not, then again, then not again. My investigation lead me to their public liaison Mark Souza Jr., who assured me “The Cock stays crowing and the drinks are still flowing!”

The Jimmy Cup

Lifelong Mantecan Jimmy Dutra passed away during a motorcycle trip to Sturgis, S.D. in 2010.

Shortly after, two Harley-Davidson steins were donated in his memory at an M.R.P.S. Hall auction and the Jimmy Cup was born. The auction took a turn when Pub & Lounge CEO Tony Coit announced that the steins would become a bottomless cup to the buyer

And for the cost of two cows, or 350 bales of hay, Ed Machado became their owner. He immediately handed the larger of the two cups to Jimmy’s brother Joe Dutra, stating “I’m not much of a beer drinker.”

The cups now live in the rafters of The Pub. On special occasions, such as Jimmy’s birthday or a hot game of Liar’s Dice on a Tuesday, they make an appearance – much the way their namesake once did.

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