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An ode to Manteca: How do I love thee?
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Manteca, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways .  .  .

I love thee for

•the fact there are eight check cashing places, 18 Mexican restaurants, nine nail salons, 16 used car lots and four tattoo parlors.

•the willingness of people to open their checkbooks for kids and the needy. Where else could you get people to donate $30,000 to buy turkeys for needy families at the holidays on a moment’s notice?

• the sweet smell of almond blossoms in mid-February.

•weeks when a high of 95 degrees is considered a cooling trend.

•the fact the highlight of families’ social calendars is a (pick one) crab, spaghetti, or pork feed.

•taking pride in efforts that puts out 2,200 United States flags on occasions such as Martin Luther King’s Day, Labor Day, the Fourth of July, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Sept. 11 and Flag Day.

•a name that so many people from out of town seem to be at ease having fun with by saying “Manstinka” or “M-a-a-a-a-n-n-n-t-e-e-c-a!”

•those quirky and confusing street signs where it is Crom Street on one side of an intersection and Cherry Lane on the other, Kelley Drive on one side and Alameda Street on the other.

•residents who find themselves using the phrase “When I used to live in (pick one) Pleasanton, Fremont, Hayward, San Jose.”•being close to everything and at the epicenter of family life.

•endless benefit car washes on Saturdays virtually every 50 feet on North Main Street to help families in need, youth sports programs or other worthwhile causes.

•the idea of quiet time is not hearing thumper music while stuck in a traffic jam on Interstate 205.

•having residents who complain about there being nothing but Mexican restaurants in  town but you can hardly wait for a Chevy’s to open here.

•drivers who believe stop signs are simply advisory in nature.

• folks who talk openly of using a Toter and it has nothing to do with use of an illegal substance.

• making people believe Bill Murray didn’t take his obsession with gophers in “Caddyshack” far enough.

•residents who pronounce almonds without an “L” and know the joke that it’s because the “L”gets knocked out of them when they’re harvested.

• ironies in the English translation of business names such as Manteca Diet Center.

•being the only place where one can ask you directions to Yosemite and you asnwer east or west.

• talk about McMansions and its not talking about super sized McDonalds restaurants.

•voters who look forward to municipal elections with the same enthusiasm as fans do the news the World Wrestling Federation is coming to Arco Arena.

•city planners who don’t find anything strange about East Union High being on North Union Road.

•drivers who believe the DMV regulations requiring manual hand signals to involve extending the middle finger only.

•residents who bristle when someone claims Half Moon Bay is the Pumpkin Capital of the World.

•people who complain the downtown pavers are dangerous for women in high heel shoes but when asked to name someone in Manteca who still wears high heel shoes the only person they can come up with is a teen male dressed in punk rock genre.

• Mantecans who plan their Saturdays around garage sales.

•the idea of a big time out on a Saturday night is to go through the Taco Bell drive thru window on your way to Wally World to buy toilet paper and dog food.

•people who wave at police officers just to be friendly.

•retention basins doubling as parks that provide an oasis in Manteca neighborhoods.

•real manly fog that puts the “cute little cat’s paws” stuff in San Francisco to shame.

•a library that people actually use to read books instead of sleeping in as they do in bigger cities.

•people going bonkers over pumpkins every October.

•being safe to go for a stroll in the evening through residential neighborhoods.

•people who wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.