Mike Davis was riding shotgun with me the one and only time I have ever been pulled over for suspicion of drunken driving.
I was quite a feat especially considering I have never touched a drop of liquor in my life.
We were outside of Bishop when an Inyo County Sheriff’s deputy pulled me over. Mike’s children Kyle and Hilary were asleep in the back seat.
I had been weaving while driving down Highway 395 at 9 o’clock at night. It could have had something to do with the fact I had been up for 21 hours straight since midnight during which time we hiked up and down Mt. Whitney after we caught three hours of sleep after driving from Manteca. I almost forget to mention. I almost got killed during the hike.
I was crossing a small ledge about a yard or so wide at a “chimney” when an adjustable walking stick attached to my backpack oscillated and tripped me. It sent me face first into the rock with just my hand to brace the fall. Other hikers around me told me not to move and to look to my right. I looked over the edge and saw a vertical drop that approached 1,000 feet. It took me several tries to get up thanks to the gallon or so of water and other weight in my backpack. It was only after I was up and leaning against a rock wall and several complete strangers told me I was “damn lucky” that I realized that I almost bought it.
Any way, it was an interesting trip to say the least. “Doc” did try to keep me calm by saying it didn’t look like my hand was broken nor my fingers although he said I might have to have my wedding band cut off due to the swelling.
As bizarre as it may sound, the two different times Mike got me to join him on hikes up Mt. Whitney got me hooked on doing solo hiking whether it is up to mountain tops or across the desert.
Mike was inducted into the Manteca Hall of Fame Saturday night in the field of healthcare. They made a point of saying how Mike is known for his communication skills and relating to patients as human beings. Rest assured he’s extremely sharp and caring and that he can reduce the most complicated thing down to the point where it can be easily grasped.
Having said that, Mike is probably the only person I know of who can say they got a dozen or so neighbors and friends together so they could attempt to pull up a honest-to-goodness iron railroad track signal weighing a couple of tons at night in his backyard during snow flurries in Manteca. Mike likes trains. Enough said.
I crossed paths for the first time with Mike in Linda Plooh’s 6 a.m., exercise class at what is today In Shape on East Yosemite Avenue. She did - and the current instructor Angel still does - use a lot of steps and weights.
Those of us who have moves that are unorthodox and a bit wild have them named after us. Mike is one of them. I bring this up because complete strangers who have no inkling that Mike is a physician will take their first class at 6 a.m. And if Mike is there he goes out of his way to give them pointers so they can do the class safely as well as make them feel comfortable.
It’s a big deal given that anyone who has ever started an exercise program in a group knows how awkward and intimidating it can be. Even though I had done Jazzercise classes for three years I didn’t step into a gym until 21 years ago. If it wasn’t for the fact guys like Mike as well as Bob Leatherwood were so easy going and had so much fun while Linda kicked their behinds, I probably wouldn’t have become so committed to group exercise.
It is no surprise that Mike is lauded for his ability to get along and communicate with staff, other physicians, and patients.
Mike has been a physician in Manteca for 27 years. A pulmonologist, he has served in various leadership roles at Doctors Hospital of Manteca. He works alongside his wife Lois who is a registered nurse. It’s a partnership on the same level of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. You can ask their patients. and if that is not enough proof you don’t have to look farther than their children Kyle and Hilary.
Mike joked about how he always had a medical magazine reading about the latest techniques, medicine, and research when he was on vacation or at his children’s soccer and tennis matches.
And while that got a few chuckles, the underlying truth is that both Mike and Lois have always been there for their kids. And it shows.
True success is not on what you amass whether it is wealth or awards but in how you impact the people around you.
And given how Mike has impacted the lives of patients, fellow medical workers, his family, friends, and even strangers there is no doubt that he is more than deserving of being in the Manteca Hall of Fame.
This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 209-249-3519.