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Better late than never
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In 34 years of life I had never sat in a boat with just my father and taken in the splendor of the great outdoors that we both enjoy so much.
I’m not quite sure how that happened. 
We’ve been on boats before together – spending time on lakes with family friends, and even fishing trips that I started going on almost a decade ago with his friends and colleagues across Northern California.
To make this even more interesting, he even has a boat that sits beside his Manteca home, and for one reason or another we’ve never managed to get it into the shape necessary to be worthy of open water so that we could spend the kind of quality time under power that he enjoyed so much with his father.
That all changed on Thursday. For one reason or another, this week was kind of an awakening for me, and when breaking some things down to him I asked if he wanted to get away with me one day this week so we could just do something together.
Original ideas included driving up to Yosemite, because it’s been far too long since I’ve been there and the last time we were there together I was going to court for a $550 ticket that I couldn’t afford to pay for not paying attention when driving through the tunnel from Glacier Point.
It’s a long story that involves informal, non-reporting probation and the threat of being back before a bow-tied judge in an orange jumpsuit if I missed a payment, but it got cleared up.
As much fun as Yosemite would have been, we decided to head up Highway 108 to try and fish Kennedy Meadows and some portions of the Stanislaus River he’s not intimately familiar with.
There was only one problem – they’re almost unfishable.
In my years of going up there, I don’t ever recall the water moving as quickly as I saw it Thursday. That meant that putting on my waders and fly fishing was completely out, and even though I know there are monster trout in that cold water, casting every four seconds didn’t seem like a whole lot of fun for me.
Kennedy Meadows was out. Clark Fork was out. Even Strawberry was moving far too fast for the lazy fishing we were both hoping to enjoy on Thursday afternoon.
So he had an idea.
“Why don’t we just get a boat and go out on PInecrest?”
I’ve done this before with friends, and truth be told – Pinecrest isn’t really my cup of tea anymore during the summer because of the sheer number of people that flock to it.
But we had nowhere else to be. And neither one of us were going home without drowning a line in some fashion, so we went for it.
And it was one of the best two-hour blocks that I’ve spent in quite some time.
It was him that pointed out that we had never done this before, and as it dawned on me – the cool breeze rippling over that frigid water as the sun reflected off the ripples – I realized late is truly far better than never.
We didn’t do so well – I caught one fish trolling with a wedding ring lure that he made fun of me for, and while he got a couple of bites, it wasn’t a typical “Campbell limit” kind of day.
But for as long as I live I’ll remember that ride with him. I’ll tuck it into a special place in my heart so that I can one day share that with my son and let him experience the feeling that I got today – even after all of those fishing trips that we’ve taken together.
Sometimes you just need to get back to the basics in order for everything to make sense.

Adventures in pizza
If you’ve know anybody who has ever even so much as driven through Manteca on social networking sites like Facebook, then this week you probably heard that a locally owned pizza store was accused – seemingly unfoundedly – of committing widespread fraud against its customers.
It turns out, after a cursory investigation by responding Manteca Police officers, that it was a glitch involving the bank and the software the processed the orders made previously in the restaurant – dating back, in some cases months ago – and not outright fraud like some had originally believed.
One person even messaged us and said that Jack’s Pizza Café was “draining people’s bank accounts” – which if true, would be terrible, and definitely something that the police should get involved in.
But since all indicators point towards this being a mistake, potentially one that couldn’t have been avoided, how does a small business that serves a community dig out of a hole that became vastly wide once word started spreading like wildfire on social media?
Some comments when word that it was a bank error – the “pending” transactions were never “posted” by the bank, and then were all pulled at the same time to make up for the error — got out, focused instead on how the quality of the product has gone downhill or the customer service isn’t what it once was.
So instead of an unwarranted black eye we’re now adding injuries to insults because we apparently love our independent eateries here so much.
When we’re down to just cardboard and tomato sauce options, at least known we’ll all understand why.