Dale Says

September 30, 2013

Barry Zito’s Last Out

Filed under: Colorful Characters — Dale @ 3:31 pm

It was a heart-warming, emotional moment late in the last game of a mostly-disappointing season. The Giants, who had won the World Series the previous year, were battling the San Diego Padres for third place. The Giants were behind 6-2 with two outs and no one on base in the eighth inning. In an act of thoughtfulness, Manager Bruce Bochy brought Barry Zito in to get the final out of the inning against Zito’s friend and former Oakland A’s teammate, Mark Kotsay. This would be Barry Zito’s last game as a Giant. It would be Mark Kotsay’s last game as a Padre. Zito started his career with seven terrific years with the A’s, winning the 2002 American League Cy Young Award and making the All-Star team three times. He was the A’s most durable pitcher, and he didn’t miss a scheduled start during his time in Oakland. After seven years with the A’s, Zito signed a huge seven-year contract for $126 million with the San Francisco Giants. That put him under a magnifying glass when he arrived in San Francisco. He was applauded when he did well and criticized when he did poorly, often by the same people. Over the seven years with the Giants, Zito had a record of 63-80. Off the field, Zito was known for his idiosyncrasies and offbeat personality. Early in his career, he dyed his hair blue, and earned the nicknames “Planet Zito” and “Captain Quirk.” He plays guitar, surfs, practices yoga, and follows Zen, and he has done yoga poses in the outfield, and meditates before games. Zito is also a philanthropist. He founded the charity “Strikeouts for Troops,” which provides services to help injured US Troops and offers support to military families. Throughout his time in San Francisco, Zito remained positive and enthusiastic and he tried his best to help win games for the Giants. He never complained and was willing to fill any role the coaches wanted. His teammates loved him, and so did the media, who could always get a good interview from Barry. His excellent performance during the 2012 season was a highlight, when he finished 15-8 and won two big postseason games. This would also be the last game for Mark Kotasy, who is retiring after 17 major league seasons. Kotsay, who had been an All-American at Cal State Fullerton and played baseball for the U.S. Olympics team, had been picked by the Florida Marlins in the first round of the 1996 baseball draft. He became a starter for the Marlins in 1998 and established a reputation for a strong arm in the outfield. He was traded several times during his career, and wound up playing for seven major league teams. Some of his best years were with the Oakland A’s, including 2004, when he hit .314 and led American League center fielders with 11 assists. Overall, Kotsay appeared in 1,914 games, and collected 1,784 hits. Kotsay and Zito had been roommates in Oakland and they are friends. So it was appropriate that Zito be given one more chance to say good-bye to the Giants fans, and Kotsay would have one more chance to get a hit. It was friend facing friend in their final baseball appearances. Zito started Kotsay by slipping two breaking pitches past him for called strikes. Kotsay then fouled off a curveball. On the fourth pitch, Zito threw a fastball past a swinging Kotsay for strike three. The AT&T Park crowd went crazy, which continued while Zito made his way to the dugout. His teammates refused to let him go down the dugout steps until he came out and tipped his cap one more time. For his part, Kotsay didn’t mind the way his last at-bat turned out. Striking out against a friend was bearable. “I’m happy for Barry.” he said. “If I had to strike out in my final at-bat, I’m glad it was against a former teammate whom I respect and love. It’s a good way to go out.” Zito was happy, too. He sent a text to his friend. “I love you my brother,” he wrote to Kotsay. “I have so much respect for you. I love that it was us together out there. See you soon.”

Clara Turns 100

Filed under: Colorful Characters — Dale @ 11:26 am

Clara was pulling weeds outside in 90-degree heat when we called on her. She quickly gave it up, came inside, and entertained us. We had to talk a little louder than normal so she could pick up what we said, but she doesn’t wear hearing aids. She doesn’t use a cane or walker, either, and she doesn’t take any medicine. She was going to the doctor every six months for check-ups after she finished her chemo, but now her physician says her she only needs to come back if something goes wrong. Clara Joyner turned 100 on October 11. It’s not a big deal, according to her. She says she doesn’t feel 100 years old, and she certainly doesn’t look nor act like a centenarian. But she is. That puts her in pretty rare company. There are only 53,000 people her age in the U.S. and only 500 in her home state of Oklahoma. Born and raised in Mississippi, Clara grew up in a strict, but loving family. She and her sister were close, and they both took piano lessons. “We never did play the same song, though,” she says in a southern drawl, because her mother didn’t want to listen to the same songs over-and-over from both of them. She studied music, taught piano for years until her children were in school, and then went back to college, got a teaching certificate, and taught music. When we asked Clara if she would play for us, she popped right up from her chair, walked to the piano, sat down, and started playing a classical song. “What am I playing?” she asked. At first I thought she was testing us, but she wasn’t – she really didn’t know what the song was. “It was in my head,” she explained, so she played it – faultlessly. Most of her playing is from memory, and most of it is faultless. She can drift from song to song, sort of a memory medley. Clara can play just about any song, whether she’s ever played it before or not, if you hum or sing a little of the tune. She plinks out the melody with her right hand as you sing and then adds the left hand. Sure, she hits a few wrong notes, but then she “gets it” and she starts to play the song faultlessly. Generally, she plays from memory, but she also plays duets from sheet music with her daughter. She does some of her own gardening, although she has hired a gardener to help. Following a recent fall, she also added a part-time caretaker who helps her clean house and cook. “I don’t really need help,” Clara told us, “But I’m starting to get used to the idea, and now I kind of like having a clean house that I didn’t clean myself and eating meals I didn’t cook for myself.” Clara says she doesn’t feel old. “As long as I have my mind,” she says, tapping her temple “I feel like I did years ago.” She says she thought by this age she would have “one foot in the grave and the other foot would be slipping,” but that’s not how she feels. She lost her husband a couple of years ago, and she misses him terribly. A lot of people her age would have given up, but she carried on, finished chemo treatments and continued to be active. She still reads a lot, but not a book a week like she used to, because she says her eyes are starting to fail. She still goes to church on Sunday when she can get a ride, and she still plays musical handbells with a group on Fridays. “We play for lots of people; like schools, and hospitals … and for the old folks,” she adds with a wink. And Clara still pulls weeds in her garden. “But I can’t keep up with them,” she says. “I need to get out there more often.”

September 19, 2013

The End of the Streak

Filed under: Colorful Characters — Dale @ 3:48 pm

July 17, 1941 was a pleasant day in Cleveland, with a game-time temperature of 76 degrees – a perfect day for baseball. The Cleveland Indians were hosting the New York Yankees, and the stadium was packed. Jolting Joe DiMaggio, the Yankees record-setting slugger was playing, and he was on a roll, having hit safely in 56 straight games – a record that had never previously been achieved (and has never since been eclipsed).

Joe’s “streak” as it had become known, started on May 15, and Joe had hit safely at least once in every game since. During those games, he had recorded 91 hits and batted .408. Even more important to Joe: When the streak began the Yankees were 14-15 and in fourth place; when it ended they were 56-27 and in first place.

Each of DiMaggio’s at-bats that night was an event, and the fans cheered and hooted every time he came to the plate. Many of them were unsure whether they wanted to see him get a hit (and keep the streak going) or make an out. Either way, they were witnessing history.

Joe came to bat in the first inning against the Indian’s pitcher, Al Smith. He let two balls go by and then hit the third pitch – a ground ball into the infield that really should have been a hit. But the Indian’s third baseman, Ken Keltner, made a great play, back-handed it, and threw to first, where the ball barely beat DiMaggio to the bag.

In the fourth inning, Joe again came to bat, and this time he built the count to 3-2 and drew a walk. He was safely on base, but he still didn’t have a hit.

When the seventh inning came around, the fans and players were tense. In his third at-bat of the day, DiMaggio hit the first pitch to third base, where Keltner made another excellent play, grabbed the ball, and threw DiMaggio out.

But Joe had one more chance when he came to bat again in the eighth inning. This time he faced Jim Bagby, Jr., son of the man who had pitched Cleveland to a pennant in 1920. DiMaggio hit the fourth pitch – a feeble ground ball to the shortstop – who grabbed it, threw it to the second baseman, who relayed it to first for a double play. Joe was out and his streak had ended.

After crossing first base, Joe turned left and continued running toward center field to play defense. He didn’t kick the earth or shake his head or pound his glove or show any visible signs of frustration. He just got on with his job.

The crowd was stunned. The Yankees won the ball game 4 to 3. Jolting Joe’s streak ended at 56 games.

DiMaggio wrestled with two emotions that night: relief and sadness. He was typically low-key with the media. “The streak doesn’t mean a thing,” he told reporters. “That seven-game lead we took over the Indians means more. But that Keltner certainly robbed me of at least one hit. That boy can field them. I do feel relieved, however, now that it’s all over. I admit I’ve been under a strain after the records were broken. But that’s gone now. I’ll be out there now still trying to get my base hits to win games. That’s all that has counted anyway.”

That night DiMaggio waited for the crowd outside the ballpark to thin, and then he left with his teammate and friend, Phil Rizzuto. They walked together up the hill toward their hotel. Joe went into a little bar and grill, alone, to have dinner. The rest of his life was still ahead of him.

Joe DiMaggio’s seemingly impossible 56-game hit streak had come to an end. History was capped in Cleveland Stadium on that pleasant day in July of 1941.

Ed and Wilma

Filed under: Colorful Characters — Dale @ 12:37 pm

Ed Lacy was born May 18, 1899 in O’Connor, Nebraska. He went to local schools, then stayed at home after school and helped his father run the family farm.

Wilma McCoy, the oldest of 18 children, was born in 1906 and raised on a farm near Harvard, Nebraska. She obtained a teaching certificate and taught school in Spalding. It was there she met and dated her first husband, Joe McCoy. After they were married, Joe and Wilma lived in Greeley, Nebraska. They had five children (Larry, Don, Robert, Helen, and JoAnn). Joe died of a stroke in 1949 at age 49 while he was on a cattle buying trip to Denver. At the time of Joe’s death, their children ranged in age from 12 to 2, and their youngest child, JoAnn, was born one day after Joe died.

Wilma’s son, Don, remembers that his father’s body was shipped home from Denver and placed in the bedroom with Wilma, who was in bed after having given birth to JoAnn. Wilma held JoAnn in one arm and reached out the other to hold the hand of her deceased husband. Don remembers her saying, “God has taken one away and given another.” That left quite an impression on him as a 10-year-old boy.

Following Joe’s death, Wilma virtually raised the five children by herself. She and Joe had one quarter of farm land that had been come to Joe as part of his inheritance, and after her husband’s death, Wilma had a very difficult decision to make: sell the farmland so she could qualify for government aid, or keep the farm and try to get along without government aid. She decided to keep the farmland and somehow managed to get by.

Ed Lacy met Wilma McCoy in 1948 when he responded to an ad she placed in the newspaper to sell hay. Ed later told Wilma that he came by to look at the hay, but also as an excuse to check her out. Ed and Wilma dated for the next year, and then were married in the chapel at the school in Greeley in November, 1949. After the wedding, Ed moved into Wilma’s house and helped raise her five children, who ranged in age from 4 to 16.

Wilma’s three oldest children (Larry, Robert, and Don) respected Edward and appreciated the help he gave their mother. Because they were old enough to know their birth father, they thought of Edward as their stepfather, and they called him “Ed.” The two youngest children (Helen and JoAnn) never really knew their birth father, and they called Ed “Dad” and treated him as their father. Wilma’s daughter, Helen, remembers Ed as a wonderful step-father, and she says he was very good to Wilma and her children. She says he wasn’t real outgoing, but he was friendly and had a good laugh.

Ed and Wilma farmed and raised her children. They took vacations, often traveling to see Ed’s relatives.

Wilma died in her sleep in a nursing home in 1982. About that time, Ed suffered several stokes, which left him partially paralyzed. He moved into a nursing home in Greeley, Nebraska, where he spent the rest of his life. His step-daughter, Helen, remembers him being frustrated by not being able to care for himself.

Edward died in Greeley, Nebraska June 11, 1985 at age 86. Ed and Wilma are buried next to Ed’s parents in the cemetery in O’Connor.

September 18, 2013

Go See Cal

Filed under: Colorful Characters — Dale @ 1:07 pm

If you want a car or truck, go see Cal.
If you want to save a buck, go see Cal.
Give a new car to your wife,
She will love you all your life.
Go see Cal, go see Cal, go see Cal.

Anyone who lived in California in the 1960’s, 1970’s, or 1980’s is familiar with that TV ad, which was sung to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” by car dealer, Cal Worthington. The ad, and similar versions of it, saturated California TV airwaves for decades, and a generation grew up knowing their problems would be solved if they went to see Cal. He sold a lot of cars — more than a million of them, by his count — and at one time in the 1960s he ran an empire of 29 dealerships from San Diego to Anchorage.

Calvin Coolidge “Cal” Worthington had humble beginnings. He was born November 27, 1920 in Bly, Oklahoma, a small town that no longer exists, one of nine children in a dirt-poor family that moved around the southwest to find work. His early life was awful, as his family lived in a small house with no plumbing, little food, homemade clothes, and no shoes. Cal dropped out of school at age 13, worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Depression, and enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942. He became a pilot and found that he loved flying. During World War II, he flew B-17 Flying Fortresses on 29 bombing missions over Germany, including bombing raids over Berlin. He earned a Distinguished Flying Cross and the rank of captain. Cal tried to become a commercial pilot, but lack of a college degree disqualified him.

After leaving the military, Cal sold his car and used the money to buy a gas station in Corpus Christi, Texas. That venture didn’t work, but he sold used cars on the side and established his first car dealership. He moved to California, bought a Hudson dealership in Huntington Park, and began making radio, and later TV ads to sell his cars. He was the top-selling Dodge dealer in the U.S. through the 1960s, but his business was hit hard by the oil embargo of the 1970s. To supplement his income, Cal sold motorized pogo sticks and delivered traffic reports to radio stations from a helicopter that he piloted.

He rebounded in the 1980’s and sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cars, and acquired ranches, shopping centers, and an office building.

Cal’s ads always started with the line, “Hi, I’m Cal and this is my dog, Spot.” It was a parody of a competitive car dealer who always appeared in ads with a German Sheppard named Storm. But instead of a dog, Cal appeared with exotic animals; such as a whale, elephant, or tiger, or even an airplane on which Worthington would be appear standing atop the wings while airborne. Those ads turned Cal into a cult celebrity, and earned him appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and in TV programs and movies.

Cal’s personal life was less successful than his business life. He was married four times, and each marriage ended in divorce. He often said he didn’t do anything well … he just stuck with it.

He continued to fly most of his life, often piloting his own private planes to his car dealerships or to film TV commercials. “I never liked the car business,” Cal often said. “I just kind of got trapped in it after the war. I didn’t have the skills to do anything else. I just wanted to fly.”

Finbarr Slattery

Filed under: Colorful Characters — Dale @ 11:09 am

Dear Editor,

Your columnist, Finbarr Slattery, was the first person we met during our holiday in July and meeting him set the tone for a wonderful experience.

We had just come out of our B+B in Killarney and were heading into town for a bite to eat when he stopped us and asked how our holiday was going. At his request, we followed him into his home, where he shared a copy of his upcoming article on the most famous people born in each of the 50 U.S. states. I’ve gotten a lot of use of that article here, as few people can guess who it is in their home states. As a return gesture, I would like to share the following list of “tips” for enjoying Ireland, which I have passed to friends who are visiting your wonderful country. I hope you get a chuckle or two from them.

1. Take lots of film for your camera and stop often to take pictures. The foxgloves, fushia, and honeysuckle are beautiful!

2. Order your pint of Guinness at least five minutes before your previous one is gone, as there is a deliberate and time-consuming method of pouring a proper pint.

3. Stay in local B+Bs, where the hosts are part of the local experience. Order the traditional Irish breakfast once (to see what it is all about), then order the fruit and yogurt breakfast the rest of the time (to prevent fried-food overload).

4. When your B+B host tells you “’tis a fine morning” that does not necessarily mean it will be sunny. Take your rain jacket with you when you leave for the day.

5. Adopt an Irish surname for the duration of your visit. Your American name will probably not sound Irish to the locals and they will not ask you about your Irish ancestors. O’Shea would be good; Kennedy would be ideal.

6. Go to at least one pub each night and try to find ones with Irish music. Order Guinness to drink. Do NOT order Irish coffee in the pubs unless you wish to incur the wrath of the bartender.

7. Develop an awareness of the fine line between Irish wit and Irish sarcasm. You will not always know from which side of that line the locals are coming. Develop a thick skin and fire back with your own brand of witicisms. The Irish seem to enjoy a good comeback.

8. Be prepared for discussions of how the British oppressed the Irish for hundreds of years. The Irish do not seem to have got over the way the British treated them, and they blame the British, not whisky, for holding them back.

9. Take twice as much money and half as many clothes as you think you will need.

10. Try to appreciate every moment of your time in this beautiful and wonderful place. It really is God’s country!

September 11, 2013

Bob Brenly: A Day Unlike Any Other

Filed under: Colorful Characters — Dale @ 10:19 am

For Bob Brenly, San Francisco Giants catcher through much of the 1980’s, Sunday, September 14, 1986 was unlike any other day – thank goodness!

The day started off routine enough. The Giants were at home in Candlestick Park to play a day game against the visiting Atlanta Braves. Bob, who normally played catcher, was going to play third base today, for the ailing Chris Brown. Bob had played some third base, but it would be stretching it to say he was comfortable there.

The game seemed normal enough until the fourth inning, when Bob booted a routine grounder, resulting in an error. A couple of batters later, he mis-played another grounder, allowing a runner to score, and then he threw home, missing his target by a mile, which allowed another runner to score. That one play resulted in two errors, making three so far for Bob. He later said things got a little hazy then. “I think I left my body or something,” he quoted, “I was circling around above the stadium somewhere.”

Later in the same inning, Bob fumbled yet another ground ball, and another run scored. That earned Bob the dubious honor of tying the record for most errors (four) in a single inning.

Roger Craig, the Giants (Humm-baby) coach, was known for leaving players on the field to fend for themselves, and Bob realized he had better do something to redeem himself. He went to work in the fifth inning, hitting a solo home run, which made the score 4-1 Atlanta.

In the seventh inning, Bob hit a ground ball single that drove in two more runs and tied the score at 4-4.

And in the ninth inning, with the score tied, two outs, and a 3-2 count Bob hit a monster home run over the Marlboro sign in left field for a walk-off home run and a win for the Giants.

Bob had redeemed himself! He was mobbed by his teammates, who had witnessed a massive comeback and history in the making. Roger Craig said Bob “deserved come back player of the year” for that game alone.

Bob went on the have an excellent career as an award-winning catcher, coach, manager, and announcer. He loves to tell stories about his many years in baseball, but the story he gets asked about the most – by far – is the day he lost, and then won, a game at Candlestick Park.

September 10, 2013

Dusty Taught Her How to Catch

Filed under: Colorful Characters — Dale @ 2:52 pm

Johnnie B. “Dusty” Baker was known for a lot of things: playing the outfield, hitting home runs, being a “players’ coach,” winning championships, and being the on-deck batter when Hank Aaron hit home run 715 to pass Babe Ruth in career home runs. He’s even known among some circles for giving the first ever “high five” in baseball.

But that’s not what I remember him for. I remember visiting with his father and wife, who sat in front of us at Candlestick Park – and I remember that he taught a little girl how to catch a baseball.

The incident I’m telling about took place at spring training in Scottsdale, Arizona when Dusty coached the San Francisco Giants, around 2000 or 2001. It was a warm spring day in Arizona, and Dusty and the Giants were playing a spring training game that would eventually mean little to anyone except the players who were sent down afterwards. In those days, there were few fans at spring training games, so we could sit most anywhere we wanted. That day we were sitting in bleacher seats near the Giant’s dugout.

Shortly before the game a woman and her very young daughter approached Dusty behind the Giant’s bench. The woman had a baseball she wanted Dusty to autograph for her daughter. She threw the ball over the fence, followed by a pen. Dusty signed the ball and was about to toss it back over the fence when he noticed the little girl. “Can she catch?” he asked. “No,” the Mom answered, “She doesn’t know how.”

Dusty looked at the little girl and told her to put her hands together, showing her how. He then gently tossed the ball over the fence and into the girl’s hands, where it made a perfect soft landing. The look on her face was priceless! It brought a huge smile to her face and a twinkle to Dusty’s eye. He had taught her how to catch!

September 9, 2013

Steven and Norman Got Married!

Filed under: Colorful Characters — Dale @ 12:43 pm

“If proud Americans can be who they are and boldly stand at the altar with who they love…then surely, surely we can give everyone in this country a fair chance at that American dream.”
– Michelle Obama

Perhaps the most persuasive argument for same sex marriage is to witness one. To see two people who are totally in love publically profess that love for each other would make anyone believe this is right.

There were several weddings last Friday at San Francisco’s City Hall. The couples were excited and nervous, and their attire ranged from blue jeans to tuxedos and long white wedding dresses. Steven and Norman chose tuxedo shirts, velvet vests, and blue jeans. They were both going to wear bow ties, but since neither of them knew how to tie a bow tie, Norman settled for a clip-on bow tie and Steven wore a long tie.

Steven and Norman have been together for 32 years. They are deeply in love, and their lives are completely intertwined. They have very different personalities, which beautifully complement each other, and like all couples who have been together that long, they have their differences, which they manage to work out.

As the wedding ceremony started, they were nervous. They held hands and looked into each other’s eyes as the judge went through the service. It was an emotional sight to see those two gray-haired men express their love, exchange rings, and vow to take each other “’till death do us part.” Then the judge announced that by the power vested in him by the State of California, they were married. It was a moment that Steven and Norman thought would never happen. It was a moment in history.

There was a reception to celebrate the occasion with the nicest group of people imaginable. Their friends include straight couples, gay couples, straight and gay singles – and each has a kind and generous nature. Along with Steven and Norman, their friends have weathered prejudice, and they have developed patience. They have experienced narrow-mindedness, and they have developed forbearance. And through it all they have remained crazy about Steven and Norman.

Steven and Norman’s wedding was about a lot of things. It was about endurance, and progress, and definitely about perseverance. And, as Norman said so well at the reception: “It was about love and tolerance.”

September 5, 2013

Herb Caen: Musings

Filed under: Colorful Characters — Dale @ 10:50 am

I began writing a daily column for The San Francisco Chronicle on July 5, 1938. It was a magic time in a faraway city that has largely disappeared and may have existed only in foggy myth.

June 6, 1991

The other midnight, in a Chinatown bar, I met a real San Franciscan. He was a middle-aged longshoreman from the Mission, and he wore a zipper jacket and open shirt. While he quietly sipped a Scotch, he talked of Harry Bridges, Bill Saroyan and Shanty Malone. He was curious about Leontyne Price and Herbert Gold. He wondered if the Duke of Bedford’s paintings were any good, he missed Brubeck, and he discussed Willie Mays down to his last spike. He seemed to know everybody in town, by first names – and it was only after he’d left that we discovered he’s bought a round of drinks for the house. For want of a better phrase, he had that touch of class – the touch of a San Franciscan.

March 12, 1961

Scene: On Monday afternoon the portly figure of Mr. Alfred Hitchcock was to be seen emerging, with a definite “thwuck,” from a large black limousine on Powell. He waddled over to a bench in Union Square and spread himself out like a roly-poly pudding. Some nut with a paper bag sprinkled grain at his feet, attracting pigeons by the hundreds. Kicking at them good-naturedly, the director of “The Birds” admonished: “Get thee to Ernie’s – I’ll see you under glass at 7.”

April 3, 1963

I wouldn’t want you to think I became a columnist just like that. Before achieving this pinochle, I had made a name for myself – no matter what kind – as a sportswriter, police reporter and radio columnist. Actually, I didn’t make my name at all. Steve George, then sports director of the Sacramento Union, made it for me in 1932. After I had written a long and intolerable piece about high school football, he said: “Put your by-line on it. I wouldn’t want anybody to think I wrote it.” I scribbled “By Herbert Caen” at the top of the copy and handed it to him. “Good God,” he said irritably, crossing out the last three letters of the first name. “Who ever heard of a sportswriter named Herbert?”

July 5, 1963

And so you cried. You cried for the young man and his wife and his family. You cried because you hadn’t realized how much the young man meant to you. You cried for the famous faces of the people who had told them. You cried for the Nation, and the despoilers of it, for the haters and the witch-hunters, the violent, the misbegotten, the deluded. You cried because all the people around you were crying, in their impotence, their frustration, their blind grief.

November 24, 1963

Frankly, I never thought it would get here so soon, but today is my 50th birthday. If that makes YOU feel older, think what it does to me. As for my doctor, he’s a little disconsolate, too, since he once bet me 100 to 1 I’d never make it. Knowing him, I won’t get the money, but the important thing is that I won – and it all evens out, anyway. If he’d won, he’d have had a hell of a time collecting.

April 3, 1966

I park at the Pickwick and start walking. A good day: a stranger smiles at you for no particular reason, a car stops to let you by and you feel warm about the driver. A drunk finds a dollar bill on the sidewalk – terrific. You drop a quarter into a can held by a Black Panther who says “Free breakfasts for kids.” How can you be against free breakfasts for kids?

October 8, 1972

The tourists. They used to beat a path from the Ferry Building to the Cliff House. Now they roam around Vaillancourt Fountain, making funnies, and stay in Hyatts and Holiday Inns, eat at whatever place is handy and ask plaintively: “Where do the real San Franciscans go?” There is no satisfactory answer, for the San Franciscan is forever a tourist in his own hometown, mingling with the tourists from elsewhere and usually having just as good, or rotten, a time as they … Come let us play and pay together.

August 4, 1974

Beautiful Baghdad-by-the-Bay, aglow. On the streets, strangers actually smiling at one another, and isn’t that what Christmas is all about? It makes us feel a little kinder. A fiver for the kid who throws your Chronicle into the bushes – a good kid, a splendid little chap. A tenner for the garage man who dented your favorite fender last July, and a bottle for the postman, who always rings twice to announce the junk mail has arrived.

December 29, 1975

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