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Late to the party, but glad I showed up
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I’m always the one that’s late to the party.
Not intentionally. I’d like to think that I have the best of intentions when I map out the necessary timeframe to get ready for whatever time said party actually is – stopping at the store to pick things up, getting a haircut, making sure that the I grab my shirt from the drycleaner on my way home from work etc. – but for some reason my best laid plans never amount to being anywhere at the same time as my peers.
No, I’m not talking about an actual party. I’m talking about life.
I didn’t get married until I was 32 years old. I didn’t have my first child until a month before my 34th birthday.
I actually know people close to my age that have children that are old enough to have children of their own right now.
So, once again, nearly an entire generation of the Campbell family gets skipped.
But I have to say that it’s one party I’m glad that I didn’t skip.
At times cynical and self-absorbed, I never understood why people doted over their children or talked about how “cute” a baby was.
But now I can sit there and just stare at him and feel completely and totally at ease with the world – that old restless feeling that was so prevalent in my younger life completely replaced by a sense of calm and deep unconditional love that I didn’t know existed within me.
I went to class on Monday this week and didn’t talk about the football games the day before – which my wife was nice enough to let me watch, all of them, on my birthday when hanging out with the two of them – like I used to. Instead I showed my classmates pictures of Dylan, and smiled ear-to-ear as his angelic face flashed onto my screen.
Of course, they had the same reaction I did when somebody did the same thing to me before having children. Which is okay.
They’ll get the same feeling someday. And in that moment everything will make sense.

Free Weed?
It’s no secret that marijuana has become about as commonplace a recreational drug in American society that a Schedule I narcotic can be.
One might even say that it’s socially acceptable after years of being a taboo reserved for only certain types of people.
And in less than two months, California voters will determine whether or not it should be decriminalized in the state for recreational use – a major hurdle that marijuana advocates have been pushing for since the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 was approved that allowed for marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes.
But does that mean it’s acceptable to have somebody sitting on the side of the road with a sign advertising that they’re either holding or wishing to be holding to all who pass by?
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t see anything wrong with somebody enjoying the effects of cannabis sativa while in the comfort, seclusion and privacy of their own home.
If there were a bar or a coffee shop where everybody was on the same page, and nobody was driving, maybe it could be enjoyed there as well.
But a public street?
The cardboard sign being held up by what appears to be a transient couple doesn’t have a question mark after the two words, so I don’t know if they’re giving it away or attempting to have some given to them.
While it may not be illegal to hold up a sign saying something that seems criminal, at least by current standards, it’s probably not the smartest thing to do in a bedroom community where families are the ones passing by on a regular basis.
Save it until after the election.

The Picks of the
 Prideful Pack
Last week I announced that we would be something different when it comes to our football picks, which may or may not have been motivated by Chris Teicheira’s disastrous turn at picking which college football teams were going to win on Saturday.
So here’s the skinny: Teicheira and Mark Condit, both Manteca High School fanatics, will be picking the games of the three Manteca high schools every week along with myself, a Sierra graduate, and Eric Wohle, an East Union graduate.
We’re throwing in the Niners and the Raiders just for good fun.
And there’s more than just pride on the line.
Whoever wins gets to put the other three in jerseys from their alma mater, and the trio will have to take a picture with Santa Claus in Downtown Manteca wearing the rival threads.
Since we have two Manteca High graduates participating, if one wins, the other will have to wear the “weenee” jersey that’s reserved for those who forgot part of their practice uniform. While the name sounds odd, this double-knit cotton jersey with the word “Weenee” across the chest was the bane for many a forgetful Manteca football player. Nobody wants to wear that in their Christmas card photo.
Oh – I also forgot to mention that if Teicheira comes in dead last, he has agreed to purchase a brick in the East Union High School Circle of Honor. Because nothing says Buffalo faithful like having your name etched in stone on your enemy’s home turf.
Ladies and gentlemen, the first “Picks of the Prideful Pack” are as follows:
uCampbell – This week I’m selecting Manteca over Kimball on the road, Oakdale over Sierra (it’s Oakdale – even on their down years they’re still one of the best programs around) at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium, and East Union over Lathrop at Dino Cunial Field. I also believe the Seahawks will beat the Niners in Seattle, and the Raiders will win another one over the Titans.
uTeicheira – Sierra and Manteca will win but East Union will lose according to the resident funnyman, the Seahawks will beat the Niners, and his beloved Raiders will bring it back to Oakland just in time to turn in a winning season before skipping town.
uCondit – The brainchild of the Super Bowl Punt, Pass and Kick competition is going with the Buffaloes (obviously) but is taking Oakdale and Lathrop. He’s picking both Bay Area teams to win this week.
uWohle – While this Lancer has faith in Manteca, Sierra and East Union this week, he’s going for both Seattle and Tennessee.
It hasn’t been discussed yet, but I’m sure that there will be some kind of trophy devised between now and Dec. 12 when the winner is crowned. Once those discussions are hammered out over a group text message that will be archived for comedic purposes, I will let you know.
Until next week.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.