Foul Play Triggers Reader Reaction


AS A JOURNALIST, sometimes you write a piece so provocative that it triggers a strong, visceral reaction from readers. I got this reaction from a story on a chicken.

Last week’s column piece on a plucky clucker created more excitement than a fox in a hen house. The brave bird has been living in the trees and the brush along Paso Robles Road in Montclair, scratching out a living thanks to folks like Linda Lorentzen, who’s been feeding the feathered fugitive.

Lorentzen swears it’s a rooster and even calls him Brewster. “He’s been living in the oak tree every night,” she says, “and he seems to like sourdough bread crumbs.”

Meanwhile, neighbor Loralyn Perry says she’s been looking after the little guy, too. “It’s kind of cool to have one (a rooster, chicken or whatever) in the neighborhood,” she crows, adding “I’d miss him if he were gone.”

Then there’s Andy Hawkey, the hills mother who says that bird is actually her daughter’s chicken — a Golden Pencilled Hamburg. “Catalina flew the coop during a real stormy night about five weeks ago and has been living down there,” she says.

But apparently, no longer. Hawkey says her husband and two daughters were able to lure “Catty” into a little wire cage baited with corn and propped up with a stick and a string. They say she’s back in her coop, although it’s a little snug these days with the addition of eight new baby chicks.

Apparently we’ve just scratched the surface of this animal tale. Is Catalina the famous fowl that everyone’s been feeding? What about neighbors who claim they saw a bird being dropped from a white pick-up truck? And just how many Easter Eggs are hidden in the hills? Tune in next Friday for, “As the Bird Turns.”

In remembrance

In the wake of last week’s death of Crogan’s owner Bob Gattis, reader Kelly Powers shares this story about the man who helped so many in our town. She says she was collecting donations for the Corpus Christi School Walkathon when she walked into Crogan’s after their big fire in 1999.

“Bob was sitting in this charred, smoking hulk of a building, working two phone lines at a desk with a little lamp on it,” Powers recalls. “This may not be the best time to ask for a donation,” she said sheepishly. Ever patient, Gattis replied, “I promise I’ll give next year Kelly.” And he did.

Abundance of spring

Nothing beats the beauty of Yosemite National Park in spring. Watching the waterfalls, recently, I realized the awesome power of nature. Millions of gallons of melting snow were tumbling over the granite rocks — a sound that echoed off the canyon walls. The valley floor was spongy and green, with wild-flowers springing up around vernal ponds. And the Merced River was robust and full and ready for summer tourists. What a wondrous place to have so close to our own back yard.

What’s my line?

Here’s a guy with an unusual line of work. Joey Huynh teaches yoga, and not just to hills folks like you and me. He’s been to San Quentin — where he taught inmates how to de-compress with the “downward dog.”

Huynh says he was really apprehensive about going into the prison last month, because he didn’t know how he’d be received or what kind of shape the inmates were in.

“It was actually a lot of fun, and they were pretty aware of their bodies,” he says. In such a hard place, it makes sense that the inmates’ favorite pose incorporated martial arts.

And finally

The hills are alive with . . . “The Sound of Music.”

If you’re a closet yodeler or just love the soundtrack from this musical, have I got an event for you. The “Sing Along Sound of Music” is coming to Landmark’s California Theater in Berkeley tonight through April 15.

Grab your lederhosen and head for this highly imaginative interactive show where the audience sings along with the classic film (subtitles provided). If you’ve ever wanted to be in a musical, this is your chance! For tickets call 866-468-3399.

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