But most old-timers recall that more than 30 years ago, this community was abuzz about a live-in fox that made his home in the area of North Sixth Street.
It all started around the Fourth of July 1981. It was then that Claude Delphia, who in earlier years had served as this newspaper’s photographer, shot a photo of a fox darting out of his garage. The intruder had been breakfasting on cat food, and the resulting newspaper publicity brought forth numerous sightings and additional photos.
One photo was of an early-morning swim in a backyard pool. Another showed a playful romp with several cats on the high school grounds.
After a spell, this newspaper ran a contest to name the fox, and Mimi Draper, who saw him often, submitted the winning entry — Foxy Loxy. And from that point on, the moniker stuck.
Foxy Loxy was somewhat of a night owl. I observed him downtown behind the firehouse about 11:30 one summer night. A motorist claimed to have struck him crossing Highway 33 one night but, after turning around, couldn’t find hide nor hair of Foxy.
Then, one Sunday afternoon, Leo and Gloria Halseth had a backyard visit from F.L. and gave me a call. I rushed over with a camera, and there was the fox lazily lounging atop a trellis. Using a ladder, I got within 5 feet of him for my photos. When he left, it was through the trees.
It was for a time speculated that we had two foxes living in town — maybe mates. But nobody came up with a photo showing two.
Two or three years ago, a fox was spotted between North Ninth Street and Ward Avenue. Then, a number of weeks ago, another sighting was reported in the North Fourth Street area.
Now comes a photo from Sand Mullen, who lives far up on North Fourth. She used her cellphone (drat!) to capture a shot last Saturday of a fox on her back patio. Earlier, he was grooming himself on her pool’s diving board.
In recent years, we’ve had raccoons living in Patterson, and an opossum or two. And now it appears that another fox has made himself at home.
Let’s all sing
Loosen up your singing voices, for we have a couple more 90-year-olds.
Ana Goubert of the Westley area observed that birthday on March 11. And if you are reading this column today (Thursday) as you should be, warble a “Happy Birthday” to Pattersonite Agnes Friedrich, who was born 90 years ago this very day.
But we have to subtract a longtime Patterson resident from our list, that being Jack Metcalf, who died March 14 at age 97.
Losing a friend
Many Pattersonites remember Joe Tyler, our UPS driver who served the community for many years before he retired. Word came this week of his death in Modesto where he was a pastor.
A tough spell
It is not unusual to see the word “accommodate” misspelled.
Travel companies misspell it, as do major hotels. Billboards and other signs often have it wrong.
Just remember — two C’s and two M’s.
Next week’s spelling word: “cemetery.”
Who says this column isn’t educational?
For the sports fan
Now that Peyton Manning has chosen where to pick up his multimillion checks, the 49ers must get back to work to soothe the nerves of QB Alex Smith.
Smith’s nerves, and surely his ego, have taken direct hits in recent years, making his 2011 season a minor miracle in the minds of many of us Niners fans. Had not Manning made a quick decision to oust Tim Tebow rather than Smith, damage to the latter’s psyche might have been irreparable.
The late Will Rogers was at his best when commenting about the government.
It was Will who said, “There ought to be one day — just one — when there is open season on senators.”
n Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at email@example.com.