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Bird’s Eye View

Greetings one and all - if you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. “I was stuck in traffic in Philo” is an unheard phrase in these parts but it was the ‘talk of the town’ for most of last week and the frustrations for some are not over yet as the resurfacing of Hwy 128 continues. I’m sure everyone has by now shared their own tale of woe and there is little I can add. I am told that it will not end soon with more work continuing northwest to Mill Creek near Clark Road, and then the long section from the CDF station, south of Boonville, to the Sonoma County Line surely which is surely going to be a major headache for some. However, according to my sources, the road between Boonville and the Indian Creek Bridge just outside Philo is NOT being resurfaced at this time, although a few temporary fixes have been made along this section so negotiating those few miles of serious pothole-dodging has been lessened somewhat. Meanwhile, many people have complained about the long delays, often over 30 minutes at a time, and some question why the work isn’t being done in the middle of the night. I say ‘come on, get over it!’ As someone who has repeatedly complained about the rapid decline in the condition of Highway 128 over the past year, I must now say that the job is being completed in record time, by a private (profit-making) company using two shifts a day, and they are doing a splendid job. Sure, it’s a little annoying at times, but the end result will be well worth it in terms of the decrease in wear and tear on your vehicles and the new, wonderfully smooth drive along the Valley floor. Dare I say, in comparison to how the road was before, driving along it now is almost orgasmic.

Talking of which, here is your Quote of the Week, which for the first time mentions the word “orgasm”! It’s from American comic genius (in my opinion), George Carlin - “The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What's that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first; get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you're too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work 40 years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months gently floating around — and then you finish off as an orgasm.” Wow! Ya gotta like that!

Public Service Announcements. #304: This Saturday, August 20th, is the Second Annual Fundraiser for High School Fall Sports — Soccer, Football, Cheerleading, and Volleyball — at The Grange at 7pm, following the High School Alumni Soccer tournament that takes place from noon to 5pm that day at Tom Smith Field, next to the high school. The fundraising event requests a $10 donation that will get you into an evening featuring a $5 Mexican dinner, $3 beer and wine, and the DJ sounds of Alex Favela. I hope to see you there. Tickets are available at Lemons Market in Philo and All that Good Stuff in Boonville, or on the door at The Grange on the night. #305: Next week sees the return to the Valley of the vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital for their monthly visit. This will be on Thursday Aug 25th at the AV Farm Supply on Highway 128 north of Philo from 2pm to 3.30pm. If your pet has shots due and for most of your animal’s needs, this is an invaluable service to the Valley that deserves your support. #306: The Second Guest Chef Dinner to benefit the Senior Center will take place on the last Friday of the month, August 26th, when chef Diana Charles will be serving a traditional Italian dinner, featuring chicken marsala, followed by a blackberry cobbler dessert and a complimentary glass of wine. Dinner is served at 7pm and seating will be limited to 60 guests. Beer and wine will be available and tickets, which sold out for last month’s event, are selling fast, so call the Senior Center (895-3609) for further details or get your tickets from Laughing Dog Books in Boonville.

Talk of the cheerleaders being one of the school teams to benefit from this weekend’s benefit at the Grange leads me to comment about the fine job these girls, led by coach Kerri Sanchez and Grandma Joy, did at their car wash fundraiser last week. They toiled away from noon to 6pm and business was very brisk, with many satisfied customers leaving healthy tips for a job well done. This group of 16 enterprising and lively girls has been, to be frank, neglected by the school in some ways but hopefully with this weekend’s fundraiser and their continued hard work at other events — waiting tables at crab feeds and St Patrick’s Day functions, they will get the recognition they deserve and funds will be found every year to help maintain these girls’ chosen sport at AV High.

If this past weekend wasn’t the “Mother of All Party” weekends, I don’t know what was! As I zoomed around the Valley on Saturday afternoon I barely had time to stop and eat the dead skunk on the road by Handley Cellars. My first stop was at Robert and Nicola Anderson-Miner’s lovely home up in Bell Valley where they threw a small and impromptu, but absolutely delightful pool party. With Robert behind the poolside bar producing some of the finest daiquiri’s west of the El Floridita Bar in Havana, Cuba, and delicious carnitas tacos with all the fixings served up continuously all afternoon, this was Vulture-heaven. It was all Hummingbird could do to persuade me to leave but we had made arrangements so, after my fifth taco, off we flew.

We had plans to attend the Airport Party in Boonville but time had flown by and it was 5pm so we had to pass on that, although I heard it was a big success once again, with over 100 airplane rides over the Valley given to folks in attendance. Avoiding the air traffic, we flew on by and headed towards the Deep End where we reached the big party event on Gschwend Road to celebrate Elaine Busse’s birthday. It was a very eclectic Valley crowd of perhaps 120 people who had gathered at the Busse home. Again it was alongside a swimming pool. (Too bad Turkey Vultures can’t swim.) And there was abundant wine and a splendid feast served up by Corey Morse and Diana Charles, who capped it off with ice cream in cones — simple, yet brilliant! The glitterati came from many Valley walks of life — school employees, winery tasting room staff, artists, carpenters, craftspeople, retired folks, 20-something’s, small-business owners, even a couple of brightlighters up for the weekend from the Bay Area (who always seem to get a little more tipsy/loud than the locals). It was a proper party, not a pot luck, thrown by Elaine and husband Buzz (Dennis), and as I staggered out of there many people were still around, being treated to some fine live music by Elaine’s son Travis and his band.

Finally, the next morning, following a delicious chicken fried steak and eggs brunch at The Buckhorn, I basically crashed out and was unable to attend the Lions Club BBQ fundraiser at the Fairgrounds for the AV Volunteer Ambulance service. Hummingbird did go however and said that attendance was down from previous years. To some, this may be surprising for an August weekend, despite the other festivities I have mentioned. Unfortunately, it is perhaps a sign of the economic climate, which seems to me to be increasingly affecting us here in the Valley as each month passes and our tourist visitors and their dollars appear to be in relatively short supply.

Time to take my leave. With the hot weather still around, please remember to keep your windows cracked if you have pets in your vehicle; children too I suppose. 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 through the Letters Page or at PPS. Hi, Silver Swan — behaving yourself? Hopefully not!

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