“It was just so panicked,” she said. Panicked because police were closing in, guns drawn and pointed. That, of course, panicked her a bit, as well.
“I didn’t know if they had bullets or tranquilizer (darts),” she said.
She wondered if they were going to blast her front door to, well, murgatroyd. But it never came to that. Snagglepuss, the unwanted guest, exited, stage left, and fled California Avenue for another neighborhood a couple of blocks to the north.
Indeed, the folks in this long-established neighborhood, its streets lined with sycamore trees, endured a few moments of craziness. The episode began sometime after 5:30 p.m., across the street and three houses east from the Hollingers’ place.
Jacob Payne and his family were home watching the Sunday night NFL game when his son thought he saw their dog, Striper, leap over the fence. Jacob checked, and Striper was still there. His neighbor across the street, Ken Moore, had seen the lion and shot video of it, proving two things: first, that it wasn’t Sasquatch; second, that it was definitely a cougar.
“You’ve got a mountain lion,” Moore told him.
Next door, the Classen family heard the commotion and got a text immediately from Jacob Payne telling them a mountain lion was in the neighborhood.
“It ran right across the yard,” son-in-law Nathan Lusher said. “We didn’t even see it.”
Neighbors figured the chickens, cooped up in Claussen’s yard, would have been easy prey for a hungry big cat. But it didn’t stick around for dinner.
“Everybody has dogs,” Lusher said. “As soon as they started barking, it was gone.”
Which leads us back to the Hollingers’ front porch, where the cat tried to get inside. A couple of years ago, a 100-pound lion kicked in the door of Ray and Tami Mendonca’s home southeast of Turlock. The one that came to the Hollingers’ place Sunday evening wasn’t so adamant about breaking and entering, and split when the cops arrived.
Meanwhile, a few blocks away, police closed Anning Drive from North Berkeley Avenue to North Johnson Road. As they did on California, they told residents to remain indoors while the cat was in the neighborhood. But in the neighborhoods around Anning, many people wandered in groups while other cruised the perimeter with hopes of spotting the lion.
According to one posting on social media, an area resident threw cooked meat over his back fence and into an alley, hoping to attract the cat. Be careful what you wish for ...
But he didn’t stop there. A custom-car lover, he transformed it into “Ryan’s Ride,” a great-looking cart that will be on display publicly for the first time Oct. 11 at Pistol Pete’s Car Show for Autism, at the Masonic Temple, 800 Rose Ave., Modesto. The show begins at 9 a.m. and will include custom cars, food, vendors, music, raffles, face painting and more.
Last year’s inaugural event at the Tuolumne River Lodge drew more entrants than organizers could handle. Consequently, they opted for the larger venue, holding as many as 200 cars. The event is named in honor of Pete Reclusado, father of an autistic boy. Pete Reclusado died in March 2013.
All proceeds benefit autism efforts. Last year’s sent three children to surfing camp in Bonales, near Half Moon Bay. Contact Tim Dodd at (209) 538-1508 for more information.
Sandy Lee of Sonora has written “No Unturned Stone – A Mother’s Quest.” It is the story of the disappearance of her son Darvis, who went missing in late 2010 and whose remains were discovered three months later. The 352-page book is available at www.amothersquest.com.
Marylin Hayes-Martin’s “Common Thread – Uncommon Women” is a novel based upon four generations of her own family, beginning in 1863 in Arkansas. The former Turlock resident now lives in the Sierra and co-founded the Sonora Writers Group. It is available on Amazon and other online booksellers.
And finally, retired Riverbank physician George Schauf wrote three books about weight loss, the last titled “The Calorie Conspiracy.” Earlier this month, a front page story in The Bee from Science Times parroted everything Schauf has espoused over the years: that focusing on avoiding carbohydrates and calorie counts and instead eating more fats will lead people to lose more body fat and have lower risks of cardiovascular problems. The study, it seems, vindicates what Schauf, now 89, steadfastly began advocating decades ago.