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December, 2008



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Moo Town News
BY Judy Borello

Remembering The Man from The Point
When Joseph H. Mendoza died on October 25th of this year, that date had long been a day of reflection for me because my husband, Robert A. Borello, died on October 25th, 1992.
Most of the Mendoza family friends knew that Joe had leukemia and some of us felt that when his beloved wife Scotty died on August 15th, it wouldn't be long. Being married for 67 years they were inseparable.

You couldn't think of one without thinking of the other. Both were very affectionate and warm-hearted, and both were gifted with a marvelous sense of humor.

As I wrote in my September column about Scotty's passing, she and Joe stood up for Bob and me when we got hitched in '79. What fun that was being with the two of them, driving all the way to Reno with the two men in the front seat and Miss Scotty and me sitting in the back. Sounds a bit chauvinistic, but it wasn't at all. These two men were old chums and their camaraderie was electric. Both loved to hunt deer, ducks and pheasant and were real keen on fishing.

That reminds me of one of the times Bob and I went out with Papa Joe on his boat, the Scotty Joe. This particular day, Bob was outfitted in a ridiculous looking striped wetsuit that caused him to resemble a big bumblebee. Bob was a burly, stocky man, and when Joe saw him in this suit he just bent over holding his stomach and laughed his ass off. When we boarded the boat, the deal was that we'd let Bob off at his favorite spot to snag some abalone while Joe and I took off fishing. Passing the time, I listened as Papa Joe told me tales about life at the Point in the old days. Joe told me about his father and some others who were rum runners back then. They'd pick up liquor from a boat offshore and run it in to Pt. Reyes Station, stashing it at the Old Western Saloon until the buyers would come in, pick it up, and deliver it to San Francisco. I know that this was true because the hidden room in the Saloon is still there.

After an hour or two of fishing and storytelling, Joe headed to where we'd left Bumble Bee Bob. Suddenly, Joe looked up, astonished, when he spied Bob being literally flipped up and out of the water! He gunned the boat so hard I had to hold on for dear life. I'm sure that Joe was thinking: Shark! As soon as we got to Bob, he quickly scrambled into the boat "whole," but bruised and shaken. Turns out that, unbeknownst to us, Bob found himself in the midst of a bevy of seals and their pups. The mothers kept charging at Bob, giving his fanny a strong butt and out of the water he'd fly! Once Bob calmed down, Joe turned to him and said, "I knew that striped bumble bee wetsuit spelled trouble!" We laughed till we cried.

Then another time on the Scotty Joe, I lost it. Raised in a family of Norwegian ancestry, I went fishing a lot and was always proud of my good sea legs and the fact that I never got sick. But this day on the Scotty Joe, I decided to watch TV in the cabin. After an hour I told Papa Joe I wasn't feeling good and he said, "You look a little green around the gills." He plopped me in a bunk below deck and put a bucket near my head. They continued to fish and I continued to barf. When we approached the wharf, it was all I could do to climb up a wobbly rope ladder and, once on land, scramble into our truck, put my head on Bob's lap, trusty bucket on the floorboard. We were supposed to head straight for Joe and Scotty's house at the end of the Point but instead, Bob and Joe decided to take a drive around on the bumpy trails, looking at the big bucks. It was illegal to hunt then, but they could salivate just the same. Believe me, I wasn't getting any better and I heard Bob say to Joe, "I think The Sport has had it and we'd better head home." When we pulled in Miss Scotty came out, beside herself because we were very late, and when she saw me crawl out of the truck grasping my bucket she went ballistic on the two guys, which I relished in my weakened condition. As macho as Joe and Bob thought they were, she whittled them down to size that night in two minutes flat. I remember Joe mumbling, "You never want to get Miss Scotty pissed off!"

And I'll say one thing about ranchers' wives - they're soft natured but they're tough. They don't whine or crybaby. They'll get out and pitch in all day on the ranch, come back inside, dress up like a million bucks and go out with their man to a local dance. And nobody knew that trait better than Joe Mendoza.

I was so honored to have Joe and Scotty in my life! And oh, Papa Joe explained to me later why I got sick on the boat. He said that when you watch TV, because it's stationary, you focus on one place, but when the boat is rocking and swaying it creates a conflict between your senses and can make you sick.

P.S. Thanks for that pearl of wisdom, Papa Joe, 'cause it's never happened to me again.

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