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Plenty of tales left to tell Richard Pena | Thu, May 27 2010 04:28 PM

We have that blustery phenomena known as May gray pushing us ahead in the calendar, implying that there are better days ahead. Those of us who have been around know better because we recall the many days of June gloom that we are going to have to face before things get better weatherwise.

So what do we do? We look around for some of those things that are good and that are not affected by the cold days.

We found one that is as positive as one can get. It was a birthday party for our friend and neighbor Don Hinkle. A few days before the event Hinkle's son Jauhn came over bearing a T-shirt. It was done up in Padres brown with the player's name emblazoned on the back, in this case, Hinkle. It had his number below his name, 94, not his playing number but his age. 

We have related stories of Hinkle before. When one reaches the ripe old age of 94 one has numerous stories to tell.

Hinkle is quite comfortable spinning yarns of his growing up years that would fill one of those fat library tomes that we see around. He and his wife LaRayne have lived across from us for many years, and because of this proximity we have heard many of them. 

For example, Hinkle was a U.S. Marine during the war. He was, in fact, one of the fighters on Iwo Jima. He says most Marines were on the Island taking it back from the Japanese for 36 days. Not Hinkle.  He was there for 37 days, this being because he and son Jauhn crossed that ocean one more time a few years ago for a reunion of some of the old units in the island itself. In all seriousness, this was a laudable feat.

There are many of us who have spent some military time in some faraway place and who have the desire to return at least one more time. Some of us make it. Some don't. Hinkle did.

To Hinkle's credit he moved to Southern California from his birthplace in South Dakota. I think that the South Dakotans who live in the South Bay could start a conclave and have enough citizens to make up a small town, or at least a village. One of the principle reasons for relocating was the wind.

There seems to be a paradox in this somewhere.  As I write this the wind is blowing the eucalyptus trees in my backyard, moving the tree in rather dangerous angles.  Maybe I should go to South Dakota.

Hinkle related a story the other day that I knew about but had forgotten the details. 

It is proof that, perhaps, Sweetwater Manor is not the placid place we believe it to be.  He says that one day a former neighbor, the late Bryan Egan, brought two men over and introduced them to Hinkle and his wife. 

They were FBI agents who wanted to borrow a room in his house to observe the activities at the house next door. There were apparently some strange things going on. Hinkle described one agent as extremely cool while the other one was rather fidgety.

In spite of his misgivings he gave in and he became the lookout location for those strange doings. The stakeout - as Barney Fife would have described it -was rather short-lived because very soon the agents called in some back-up and went in and made the arrest. 

The bad guys, as we understand, were dealing in something and it wasn't oregano.

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