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Bird’s Eye View

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. Well, ‘The Turkey Vulture has landed’ as someone very famously once said. Yes, I’m back here in “paradise” after a very large dose of the “real world” that is out there. Unfortunately, as I’m sure you are aware, some of it isn’t pretty. Meanwhile here in the Valley, a scene that might not have been pretty was the annual Beer Fest. However, once again it was relatively trouble-free with very few arrests and, despite the vast quantities of alcohol consumed, people generally behaved themselves. Some locals thought ahead and had arranged designated drivers to get them home from downtown Boonville. Two of these drivers were AV Elementary schoolteacher Val Smith and former High School principal, JR Collins. Good job on every front I’d say.

First up this week, let’s have the Public Service Announcements. #339: This coming weekend (20th-22nd) sees the annual AV Pinot Festival here in the Valley with the technical conference on Friday; wine tasting at Golden Eye Winery on Saturday afternoon followed by winemaker dinners in the evening; and open houses and special tastings at various wineries on Sunday. Call 895-9463 for further details. #340: the Boonville Farmer’s Market is in full-swing now and is once again taking place at the Boonville Hotel parking lot from 9.30am to noon on Saturday (21st). #341: The Boonville Big Band is appearing in town this weekend. They will be on stage at 9pm on Saturday, the 21st at Lauren’s and as usual I imagine a good time will be had by all who attend. #342: There is still time to get your tickets for an upcoming event benefiting the Anderson Valley Ambulance Service. It’s “James Taylor Roberts’ Tour of His Home & Garden.” Nationally renowned for outstanding design, Jim has been featured in Island Home, House & Garden, Trends and Options Magazines. This event will feature wine pairings with small tastes and local artisans will be displaying and selling their ornamental garden oriented sculptures, pots and totems on the central lawn. It takes place on Saturday, June 4, 2011, from 1 to 5pm; $40/person, sales limited to 250 tickets. For more information call Ginger Valen at 707-895-9424.

Memorial Day Weekend is just around the corner (May 27th-30th). I’ll have all the details next week. But for now let me tell you that it will feature the opening of the AV Theater Guild’s annual production at The Grange; the AV Senior Center Flea Market; the AV Art Guild Open Studio Tour; and the Lion’s Club BBQ to benefit the Elder Home. Yes, folks, it’s going to get a little crazy around here! Having said that, it would be very heart-warming if there were to be a good turnout for the one event that actually commemorates Memorial Day and the reason why we all get the long weekend to enjoy these events. I’m talking about the service put on by the AV Veterans that will be held at the Memorial Wall in the Evergreen Cemetery on Anderson Valley Way on Monday, May 30th at noon to commemorate US soldiers who have died while serving in the military. This day was first enacted to honor Union and Confederate soldiers following the American Civil War and it was extended after World War I to honor Americans who have died in all wars. With US servicemen and women continuing to perish in various theaters of war, a good turnout at this short ceremony would surely be a sign that their efforts have not been in vain and are deeply appreciated by those of us who live on. Hope to see many of you there.

With this in mind how about a couple of Quotes of the Week that would be appropriate with this important day approaching? It was Joseph Campbell, the American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion, covering many aspects of the human experience, who said, “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” And the poignant line from the Reverend Aaron Kilbourn, “The dead soldier's silence sings our national anthem.”

Topics under discussion this week at The Three-Dot Lounge — yes it’s “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley.

…The big topic of conversation was the rumor that, as a result of certain people’s behavior at recent Grange events, every function at which alcohol was to be sold at that venue would now see two professional security guards present. Anderson Valley community gatherings to be overseen by an out-of-town “militia”?! “Say it ain’t so!” It did not seem right, so for further investigation I turned to my ace crime reporter, Balding Eagle. It turns out that this rumor is not true. The main problem has been that a very small number of people have been taking drinks outside, while others have taken their own alcohol to events and smuggled it in, with the joint result being that some underage drinking has ensued. Furthermore, there has been a couple of altercations at recent events, again induced by excess alcohol. Now the Grange Committee has to come up with some plan to stop this but they will not be introducing such draconian measures as described above. To ensure people take responsibility for their actions, and to foster a greater sense of community, some sort of in-house “policing” will have to be arranged by the organizers of each event. I’m sure the Grange Master, David Norfleet, and his Grange committee will come up with a fair and reasonable way of doing this that will both prevent the problem from continuing and yet at the same time not involve “Big Brother” being invited to come along and watch over us.

…Many regulars agreed that it was great to see that the couple of Canada geese have once again returned Bill Hill’s Big Hole – the huge pond on Highway 128 opposite Breggo Cellars that otherwise would not be a popular landmark.

…Many thanks to ‘Anonymous’ who took me aside and commented on a recent column of mine. “You got great points there, that's why I always love checking out your column.” Yes, I’ve always thought that Anonymous was a smart fellow and he was only on his fourth beer when he spoke.

Time to take my leave. With the hot weather almost with us, please remember to keep your windows cracked if you have pets in your vehicle. Otherwise, ‘Keep the Faith.’ Be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; and may your god go with you. One final request, “Let us prey.” Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. PS. Contact me with words of support/abuse either through the Letters Page or at PPS. Hi, Silver Swan – behaving yourself? Hopefully not! PPPS. On the sheep, Grace. ¥¥

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