No deadlines for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. What a deal.
What an enjoyable time visiting family and especially son Tim in Chula Vista who took me to lunch at the Panera Bread Restaurant near the police station. There’s something very special about going to lunch with one of your kids and enjoying the magic of the moment.
We flew down to San Diego Tuesday on Southwest via the “turkey express,” where so many grandparents filled the seats of a packed jet. Seniors are often more prone to talking to people they don’t know than are members of the younger set.
One in particular was a retiree from the prison system in the Sacramento area who was traveling with his wife to visit their attorney son and his wife – also an attorney – in San Diego. His retirement has allowed them to travel to Europe three times just during the past year where they have taken lengthy bike and river tours in Scandanavia and Germany’s Black Forest.
There is a German shepherd addition at our son’s home with the approval of our 9-year-old grandson. The dog is just six months old. He had been purchased as a special gift by an 81-year-old woman for her husband while still a cute puppy. It wasn’t long before the dog’s ears and feet became much larger than its body – having to grow into perspective. The couple called the police department hoping the canine unit could find a good home for their pet. And find they did when they called our son to have him look at the pooch and come back with his opinion. The outcome was that the shepherd was found to be more defensive in nature than aggressive.
So today that new dog is about to get obedience training to replace a 13-year-old pet that had to recently been put to sleep because of deteriorating hip problems – hip dysplasia.
Sitting here whiling away the afternoon at my laptop, I can’t help but think of former police chief and mayor Red Nutt and the many times we have been in contact over the years from early on at the morning the Almond Blossom festival when he made a car stop. That stop was in front of the Blue Light Restaurant and motel on the Highway 99 Frontage Road. He had pulled over a lone Hell’s Angel biker and was talking with him when the rest of the motorcycle group filled the entrance to the parking lot.
Then, most recently I photographed Red when the Ripon PD was taking ownership of new police vehicles in the city hall parking lot behind the station. Looking over my picture stash in my computer I found two of those pictures with Red casually inspecting those cars behind the police station. He was quite the man. Often seen as serious,he would easily offer his psychological views on just about any subject from crime to being Santa for many years noting why it was so important to go out of the way for kids in the community. Red was Red -- what you saw was what you got in a guy who would not hesitate to stand up for what he felt was right.
In browsing through my memory and all the family members and friends I am thankful for this Thanksgiving – past and present – I can’t help but think of the late George Murphy who published the Manteca paper for many years until he decided to sell his paper. Murphy pretty much represented the impetus that detoured me from photography into news writing and editing on a number of other papers.
Murphy said what he felt needed to be said and defended his right to stand up for the community and its people. Murphy was one of many publishers I have worked under at the Bulletin. He was the best and somebody I had finally figured out as to where he was coming from on certain issues. That was until the day he brought me back from the Sun-Telegram in San Bernardino to serve as news editor at the Bulletin. One staff reporter asked to talk with me outside the building on my return. He emphatically told me he had only worked for Murphy in his career, adding I shouldn’t expect he would do anything I asked.
Going to Murphy for direction in my quandary on what to do, he responded: “Don’t make waves.”
The Batting the Breeze column could always be found on the front page – sometimes subtle -- but definitely getting to the point of an argument. Murphy, like the half dozen police chiefs in my time, including Les Howard and Leonard Taylor, always strived to do his best for the city and its folks – even though he was not always in agreement.
Murphy had a column on the editorial page titled, “The Fourth Estate,” where he would offer his views of the political scene that needed change as he saw it in his day. He was regarded by many of his readers as the fifth vote on the city council. And those often controversial editorials that centered the editorial page were pared with “The Office Cat.”
The Cat drew some heated response from readers who disagreed with Murphy’s viewpoint on certain subjects and wanted to tell him about it. But when those folks approached the front office counter to offer their opinion and discontent, asking to talk to the person who wrote the piece, they would be directed to that Cat they saw napping in the center of the Bulletin’s hardcover back dated editions of the paper.
There is a long list of those I am give thanks for having known over the years – so many having passed away – from mailman and children’s store owner Wan Jee, police officer Tillie Dilnero to ambulance drivers Charles Bergthold, and George Lauritson and their team of drivers and attendants who made up the early days of Manteca District Ambulance when it was a totally volunteer service. George gave his life for his ambulance passion suffering a heart attack after responding to several fatal crashes in just one day. He and his wife Kathryn owned and operated the Manteca Variety Store in the 100 block of East Main Street.
Dilnero was a former prize fighter and could break up a bar fight without much backup. He also became a fine youth officer who turned many troubled kids around early in their troubled lives. He is included in the Cruizing Mural on the side of Accent Carpets in the 100 block of North Main Street.
To contact Glenn Kahl email email@example.com or call 209.249.3539.