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Following in the footsteps of Pat OLeary
Tony Coit, The Cowboy, Frank Teixeira, Tom Langenhorst, and Kevin Berry. - photo by Photo Contributed

Hello, Manteca. . . The Bulletin has given me the honor and privilege of writing a weekly “Man About Town” column. Born and raised in this town, I carry all the pride (and at times sadness), that comes with being a Mantecan. . . Sentiments such as “I miss the old Manteca” or “There’s nothing to do here” or “I have to get outta here!” have become standard water cooler talk. And though I love being nostalgic and often want to get out these sentiments have grown trite and pervasive. This column will tout the merits, and showcase the people and places that make town “The Old Manteca” and a town worth living in . . .

Don’t think for a single moment that this column was somehow my brainchild...  I pitched the idea to Jason Campbell, who pitched it to Dennis Wyatt, who in turn gave the go ahead and free reign. It’s a move that still has me waiting for Alan Funt to appear with his candid camera in tow (for those under 35, Mr. Funt was Ashton Kutcher 70s style. . . See kids, we are already learning)... This column is something I’ve wanted to do for 35 years . . . and 35 years ago it was being done.

The Pat O’Leary column (the original Facebook)  …  The Great Pat wrote a column from the late 70s to 1990s with the Manteca Bulletin and Manteca News being his ports of call. The open seas of this town are where his treasures were found amongst the people and places of Manteca.
Long before social media. . . before I could see your pictures of lunch at Applebee’s… or read about how you are “SO tired of the rain…pfft!”. . .long before people on Facebook were exposing  friends to the minutiae of their everyday life , Pat O’Leary was writing and living a column that mirrored the same stuff except for one difference,: his column was interesting, original, and enjoyable…in Facebook terms, he was getting way more LIKES than you.
Pat was social media, before the term “social media” had been coined
He wrote with his own type of Manteca driven satire. . .Quick witted, well versed,  honest , caring, he wrote about everyday life in Manteca. He rubbed elbows with farmers, politicians, bartenders, ditch diggers and old timers. .. .I met Pat on multiple occasions through my Grandma June Cunningham  (Manteca News office manager) and Grandpa Manuel Teicheira  (Dairyman/Pat O’Leary column supermodel). He was a cool cat, in charge of Manteca’s version of the NY Post’s Page 6. . . Reading his column on a Tuesday, gave me insight into what my town had done over the weekend. When you’re 10 years old, seeing a picture of your uncles hanging out at Brawley’s in the paper was cool. . . They were celebrities in my eyes! I was hooked, and still am.
There are very few things I take very seriously. My 41 years as a farmer/comic/bartender/auctioneer/writer can attest to this fact. I can count on one hand the things I do take serious: my family, my friends and my town. . . And that in a nutshell, is what this column will attempt to be about, a Town of Family and Friends. . ..I’m no Pat O’Leary by any stretch, though  I’m gonna try like hell . . . but why me?

Born and raised . . . I made my first public appearance at Manteca Hospital, September 12, 1972  . . .The first son/first grandson to a large 3rd generation family of Manteca dairy farmers. . . mmm Milk!. . . attended Humpty-Dumpty, Nile Garden, and Manteca High — better known as the Holy Triumvirate of Manteca Matriculation (though only one of these fine institutions let me walk at graduation called “behavioral problems”). . . I learned to swim at Lincoln Pool, Mud-Turtles forever! Rode my bike over every nook and cranny this town had — from Oakwood Lake to the rocket slide. . . It molded me, because this country boy had one major twist in his social evolution: My parents had a house in town ! That gave this rural boy an urban connection. . .

The GET AROUND Boy...Growing up, I resided in two different places...a country house (my grandparents dairy) and a city home (parents) . . . Having two ports of call was great: Country life-city life!. . .Learning to “float” between the two ports, and remain hidden from the “long arm of the parents” was a must. . . It was during these years I developed my Ferris Bueller-like lifestyle. . .Friend-to-all; country, city, athlete, nerd, rich, poor, preppy, stoner, weirdo, or even Tony Coit. . .Through youth sports (Acorn League, Babe Ruth, MASL), town functions (Pumpkin Fair, Harvest Festival, Festas), or just loitering around (Spacecade, Zippy’s). .  . I made it a point to meet and greet every Mantecan I met, whether they liked me or not (many did not and remind me of such to this day), . .. but I got around...
That  seems a decent start to my qualifications...and if you know me, you realize that we will be diving into Lake Chris quite often, where the waters are nostalgic and embellished for your pleasure…Bring your towels Manteca. . . but in truth, there is only one qualification that really matters. . . I LOVE THE TOWN OF MANTECA. . . I love the people in it . . . I love our past and present and am hopeful for our future.

A call to pride . . . I’m not a Central Valley ostrich, my head isn’t buried, and I see the problems…. crime, drugs, unemployment, and homelessness . .  . I also see that these problems aren’t inherent to just Manteca, these are problems that most Central Valley towns are suffering .but before we fix the big problems, let’s work on the small ones. . .Quit complaining and start doing!. . . What are you doing to improve yourself and your town?!. .  .are you one of those that calls it Mantweeka? . . .Do you not see the pervasiveness in using this awful nickname?!  Neither cute nor clever in my opinion. . . Words like that permeate and penetrate the minds of our youth, instilling a defeatist attitude…SO STOP IT...
Manteca is never going to be “the way it used to be “but it can become “the way we want it to be”. . . Complaining and leaving, can be replaced with personal accountability and action. . .
Stop blaming your town…wherever your Town may be . . .because
“It’s not where you do what you do, it’s what you do where you do it” — Lloyd Barbasol

MANTECA to a T...So let’s get started...I plan on learning/reporting about all things Manteca once a week presenting the pictures and stories of the people, that are part of our past, present, and future.. . .and hopefully be able to channel a Lil’ of that Pat O’LEARY magic.


To contact Chris Teicheira, email