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Manteca, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. . . ..
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Manteca, I love thee for . . .

. . . the fact there are six check cashing places, 24 Mexican restaurants, nine nail salons, 16 car washes, eight used car lots and three tattoo parlors.
. . . the willingness of people to open their hearts and checkbooks for the needy as well as kids.
. . . people that donate $50,000 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 put out 2,400 United States flags on occasions such as the Fourth of July, Dec. 7, Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Day, Sept. 11 and Labor Day.
. . . a name that so many people from out of town seem to be at ease having fun with by saying “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, as well as the street with four names — Cottage Avenue-Spreckels Avenue-Industrial Park Drive-Mission Ridge Drive.
. . . residents who find themselves using the phrase “When I used to live in (pick one) Pleasanton, Fremont, Hayward, San Jose.”
. . . out-of-town guests who insist you take them to Bass Pro Shops.
. . .for endless benefit car washes on Saturdays to help families in need, youth sports programs or other worthwhile causes.
. . . being a place where someone mentions “The Lab” the first thing you think about is not your neighbor’s Labrador retriever.
. . . 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.
. . . for 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 that pronounce almonds without an “L” and know the joke that it’s because the “L” gets knocked out of them when they’re harvested.
. . . its name gracing bilingual packaging for Armour Star.
. .. being the only place where one can asks you for directions to Yosemite and you ask east or west.
 . . . the proliferation of mini-storage complexes.
. . . drivers who have reached the conclusion turn signals are optional equipment.
. . . voters who look forward to municipal elections with the same enthusiasm as fans do the news the World Wrestling Federation is coming to Golden One Center in Sacramento.
. . . people who don’t find anything strange about East Union High being on North Union Road.
. . . drivers that believe the DMV regulations require manual hand signals involving the extension of the middle finger only.
. . . when someone claims Half Moon Bay is the Pumpkin Capital of the World and people actually bristle.
. . . folks who call the Manteca Community School the Yosemite School and get annoyed when school officials tell you to stop calling it Yosemite School.
. . . people that plan their Saturdays around garage sales.
. . . those who believe the ideal Manteca business is one that advances cash, sells Mexican food, does nails and sells used cars all in one location.
.  . . the idea of a big night out on a Saturday is to go through the Taco Bell drive through window on your way to Wally World to buy toilet paper and dog food.
. . . people who wave at police officers just to be friendly.
. . . storm retention basins doubling as parks that provide an oasis in neighborhoods.
. . . policy makers who can talk about affordable housing with a straight face when the median price of resale housing is $350,000.
. . . 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.
. . .candidates who believe Manteca politics is a full contract sport.
. . . people going bonkers over pumpkins every October.
. . . still being considered “home” to the world famous Manteca Waterslides despite being gone for more than 15 years.
. . . being safe to go for a stroll in the evening through residential neighborhoods.
. . . rough pavement on South Main Street that makes wheel alignment a growth industry.
. . . people who wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.