Darryl Bain, 73, is a Manteca holiday tradition playing old familiar carols in front of the Save Mart grocery store on North Main Street for the last 10 years – five days a week and some eight hours a day.
Bain estimates he’s logged some 20,000 hours with his three accordions – two which have pretty much been worn out with use. Bruno Cerri of the Escalon Accordion Club gave him his newest accordion last year as a Christmas present.
On any given day he collects $800 to $1,000 for the Salvation Army, making frequent trips into the store to safeguard those donations from possible thieves. Despite a dislocated knee he sustained in a fall at home, he continues to stay on task this week accepting donations while standing on his wrapped leg. He has also suffered from ligament damage recently keeping him from riding his bicycle.
“I quit taking my heart medicine and I feel better than I did in the cold,” he said Wednesday evening as he stood near the Save Mart doorway.
Bain is in need of a good used car since his van has had its windows shot out in front of his home on Oregon and Park streets. The engine and brakes are in need of repair as well. The side windows of his 1985 Dodge Ram van are boarded up with cardboard using two inch wide gray strapping tape to hold the boards in place.
He remembers paying $600 for the van with credit for having done work for the pastor of His Way Ministry. Brother Al provided the vehicle for his volunteer service to his Baptist Church.
“When I start the van it sounds like the head is cracked or maybe a bad head gasket,” he said, “but when it warms up, it sounds pretty good.”
He admittedly doesn’t live in the best part of town but it is what he can afford, he noted. The van has been in the way of bullets that would have otherwise hit his residence, Bain added. Living near Southside Park in a gang area, he said the park has taken on a new name of “Homicide Park.” And, the gunfire isn’t always at night anymore, he added. The last shootings were during the day.
“It’s all about broad daylight gang war stuff over drug trading,” he said.
Bain has also been a regular, playing his accordion in front of the Manteca post office on Maple Avenue.
As for the weather, he noted that you don’t want to get an accordion too cold – you will ruin it and get it out of tune.
Pastor Walter Stinnett of the Free Will Baptist Church is hoping to start a collection to ensure Bain will have at least a used car in the future that will get him around town safely. His phone number is 209.239.1705.