Bob’s Memories

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All you klutzes, listen to Andy and call a professional

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

My Whirlpool dryer quit heating, so I tore it apart hoping to solve the problem. And Rooney of 60 Minutes would have said, “leave those jobs to the professionals.” Photo By BOB OTTO

YUCAIPA, Calif. – I remember the late Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes once chiding homeowners who foolishly thought they could patch a roof, fix a leaky faucet, or install a new garage door.

“Leave those jobs to the experts,” he advised. “Most of us don’t have the knowhow for that kind of work. It takes a pro.”

Andy’s wisdom was meant for klutzes like me.

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Fallen Marine no match for tough wife

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

‘I couldn’t find the soup strainer so I used one of your socks.’

YUCAIPA, Calif. – Most people think of Marines as being strong and tough. That’s true in combat. But in sickness, I for one surrender like a whimpering coward.

I’m in my sixth day suffering through an ugly bout of a cold, or maybe it’s the flu. Runny, sniffling nose, watery eyes, pounding headache targeted just above my eyes; and let’s just say, I don’t stray too far from the bathroom.

In this sixth day, I’ve blown (literally) through four boxes of tissue. I think I’ve earned a rebate from Kleenex.

This nasty illness has also stricken my wife Nan. She has every symptom I have.

However, there’s a huge difference in how we are handling our shared suffering. My wife battles through the day like a brave Marine in hand-to-hand combat. She refuses to surrender to this most intrusive invader.

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As old as the dinosaurs

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

120115-BobBasketball.45web James Naismith Otto, the inventor of basketball and the sports’ very first stoneage player.

It’s my birthday and I was asked at Starbucks this morning by a young barista who has yet to shave: “Bob, just how old are you!?”

I didn’t want to answer numerically, so I said, “well, let me tell you this way.”

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First Day of Summer And The Kid Is Playing Hoops

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

120115-BobBasketball.45web Senior or masters basketball has become a popular sport for kids at heart, from baby boomers to those well into their 70s and 80s.

YUCAIPA – I remember as a kid rarely touching a basketball in June. Summers on a Minnesota farm were spent baling hay and cultivating about 220 acres of corn and soybeans from sun up to sun down.

For hardworking farm boys, precious free time for sports was spent in a cow pasture, or freshly baled hay field playing baseball or fast-pitch softball.

Basketball? Not even a thought. It’s a winter sport and in June there’s no snow on the ground.

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Immortalizing Kobe’s Greatness

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

YUCAIPA, Calif. – I have never been much of a Kobe Byant fan. Principally because he’s a Laker and I’ve hated the Lakers ever since they snuck out of Minneapolis in 1960 and had all that enviable success in LaLa Land, and all that ballyhooed “Showtime” with Magic and company.

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Putting some bounce in my workout

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

senior.Bball.web Senior basketball (ages 50 to 83) players of the Drayson Center in Loma Linda, Calif. I am first on the left of the bottom row.

YUCAIPA, Calif. – Yesterday I rode the stationary bike for 20 minutes and didn’t enjoy one minute of it. I also lifted weights and that wasn’t much fun either.

I needed to make a change in my stale fitness routine and today I did. I asked myself: “What do I really enjoy doing physically to stay in shape?” The answer came quick – basketball.

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Old backyard friend gets a reprieve

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

060214-Plum_Tree.867lr The old plum tree has lost some limbs and has been decaying, but in its 62 years of living and growing in the Otto’s backyard, it continues to produce delicious Santa Rosa plums year after year. Photo By BOB OTTO

YUCAIPA, Calif. – Our backyard has long been anchored by two old fruit trees, an apple and a plum. In the 35 years we’ve lived in the home, both trees have born lush fruit. Never failing, year after.

Our deed states the home was built in 1952. So I’m guessing the trees were planted about the same time. So bushels and bushels of plums and apples have been picked or fallen from those two trees. Not only feeding my family and friends, but also the flock of wild parrots that seem to know just when the fruit is ripe and ready for gorging.

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Mind and body reach compromise: play at old Bill’s pace

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

senior.Bball.web Bob Otto, front row, far left, and his senior basketball playing buddies find it hard to give up the game even with an assortment of nagging and sometimes serious injuries.

YUCAIPA, Calif – I have two parts to my being that sometimes argue over each other’s judgement – my mind and my body.

I play basketball in a senior pick-up league. We’re all a bunch of old guys with the youngest about 52. And way, way on the other side of the age spectrum is “old Bill” as we call him, at 81. I’m in the middle at 64.

But I seem to be the one getting hurt the most: pulled hamstring, strained calf muscles, two elbow shots to the mouth, a bloodied nose, and a sprained ankle along with a sore back.

But nothing too serious to keep me off the court. That is until July 1st.

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Southern Californians don’t know cold

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

manurespreader

YUCAIPA, CALIF – It’s 34 degrees this morning and Southern Californian’s – accustomed to sunshine and warmth – are bitching about the cold. Many of my fellow Yucaipans are bundled up in stocking caps and scarves, mittens and long underwear.

“Brrrr, it’s freezing!” they exclaim. Little do they know real cold – much less FREEZING temps where the thermometer plunges well below zero. I’m a farm-raised Minnesotan. I can tell you about unbearable winter weather, and so I will.

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Seniors love for basketball strong as ever

Thursday, November 29th, 2012


Bill Pittman plays much younger than his 76 years.

YUCAIPA, Calif. – The high, leaping jump shot? The fast break? Not so high, and not so fast anymore.

Their physical skills may have faded over the years, but what remains as strong as ever is their love for the game. And the men who play senior basketball at the Yucaipa Community Center, and the Loma Linda University Drayson Center still have plenty of that.

Their ages range from 50, such as Wallace Frisbey, the youngster of the group, to Bill Pittman, who plays much younger than his 76 years.

The seniors – numbering from 12 to 20 – get together from about noon to 1:30 three days a week to play the game they can’t seem to let go. They play hard and they play to win. But as far as in-your-face defense and win at all costs, that’s a no-no. Their game has become much more social than when they were youngsters tearing up the hardcourt.

“Our camaraderie is great,” said Pittman, who is a deadeye from about the 18-feet range. “I’ve been playing with these guys for about five years, and we’re all friends. But before joining the group, Pittman hadn’t played for about 40 years.

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