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Bird’s Eye View

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. Leading off this week, I turn things over to our ‘3-Dot Lounge’ regular, The Old Buzzard, who provides us with the latest words of wisdom in his insightful series, “The Approach of the Apocalypse.” Buzzard reports, “The past month will surely go down in Anderson Valley history as “Black January.” The turmoil and outrage that the community dealt with included the future plans of The Boonville Hotel Three (“Johnny, Roger, and Melinda”) for the space at The Farrer Building currently occupied by “All that Good Stuff,” the store frequented by many local folks and owned by the very popular Leslie Hummel; the High School “Fight Club” and its resulting school  “lunchtime lockdown” by Principal James Tomlin and the accompanying student suspensions; and the apparent but as yet unproven Parent/Teacher Association’s financial irregularities being investigated by law enforcement. On top of all of this and, to some perhaps, the most disturbing development of all was the news that The Boonville Saloon (formerly The Boonville Lodge) has closed and may not re-open. For now the situation is very uncertain, but hopefully the hard-working owners, Marcia and Shelly, who have put in so much hard work over the last year or so, will be able to re-open in the not too distant future. However, in a worse-case scenario, if the liquor license were sold to someone outside the Valley, this would mean that for the first time in over 100 years “real” alcohol will not be available in the Boonville and we would have lost a veritable Valley institution.

With such licenses hard to come by, unless someone here can step in and buy this license for a location in the Valley, it is very unlikely in the foreseeable future that folks will get to go out locally and enjoy the company of friends while sipping a martini, a fine single-malt whisky, a “Cosmo,” a Vodka cranberry, or even a Trainwreck! If that is the case then this would surely be one of the more glaring examples that we are most certainly faced with the imminent approach of the Apocalypse.

In the meantime, we do have our crab feeds to cheer us up and the most recent one, held last Saturday evening at The Apple Hall in Boonville, was one of the best yet! Once again the “Original” Crab Feed was a sellout, with well over 350 people in attendance, as the Valley sat down to eat, drink, and make merry together. The crab was delicious and never-ending and I can’t imagine anyone went short as Gloria Ross and her crew did a marvelous job of putting on a great night out for the tenth year in succession. Most people were gone by 9:30pm and I left not long after that, leaving some of the young Valley socialites to enjoy a drink at the bar with friends as the hard-working volunteers sat down to enjoy their own crab feed. They certainly deserved it!

As we move on from Black January, and with Valentine’s Day (Feb 14th) less than a week away, I thought some words of wisdom on the topic of “Love” would be in order for your Quotes of the Week. First, let’s bring in the author Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) who wittily observed, “If only one could tell true love from false love, as one can tell mushrooms from toadstools.” And this from Diane Arbus (1923-1971), the American photographer and writer, who wrote, “Love involves a peculiar, unfathomable combination of understanding and misunderstanding.” The list would not be complete without a contribution from my old friend Bill Shakespeare (1564-1616) the English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. Here’s his classic line from Twelfth Night: “If music be the food of love, play on.” And let’s finish with Valley resident and author, poet, and activist, Alice Walker (1944 -?) whose words we could all live by, “I have learned not to worry about love; but to honor its coming with all of my heart.”

And now back down to earth. Public Service Announcements. Calendars and pens at the ready. #363: Dean Titus and the Coyote Cowboys supported by Wild Oats will be playing for your ‘Romancin’ and Dancin’ pleasure on Saturday, Feb 11th at The Grange in a benefit for the Senior Center. #364: The next afternoon, Sunday, Feb 12th, it’s the AV Historical Society’s Roundtable Discussion entitled “Anderson Valley in the 1930s and 1940s.” This free event will be held at The Grange on Highway 128 beginning at 1:30pm with a discussion panel featuring 15 Valley folks who lived here during those years. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend what will surely not only be a fascinating afternoon of old Valley stories and memories but also a unique piece of history in the making. #365: Next Tuesday, Feb 14th, is the second Tuesday so that means Dinner and Bingo at the Senior Center — good food, beer and wine, top quality bingo with prizes, and, as you know by now, you don’t have to be a senior to attend! #366: The vets from Mendocino Animal Hospital return for their monthly visit to the Valley next Thursday, February 16th. They will be at The AV Farm Supply from 2-3:30pm.

Topics and Valley events under discussion this week at The Three-Dot Lounge. Yes “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant Rumors” from my favorite gathering place in the Valley where people gather and share their thoughts about Valley life.

…Along with a couple of 3-Dot regulars, I attended the Unity Club luncheon last week, which saw Sheriff Tom Allman and District Attorney David Eyster as the guest speakers. Both are eloquent, informative, and interesting public speakers with affection for, and awareness of, the Valley and its issues, so their words were inevitably well received. However, perhaps what was not expected was their warm welcome of yours truly with firm handshakes and broad smiles. Such greetings by these two powerful men of the law could do a lot of harm to my reputation and I can assure you it will not happen again.

…The downturn in business at the local eateries cannot be blamed on the quality of the food, with Lauren’s Restaurant (with it’s exceptional Pot Roast and Pulled Pork dishes) and The Buckhorn (spicy wings and Buffalo burgers) both making the local dining experience something which deserves a far greater audience. Support your local restaurants; these days you never know if they will always be there.

Time to take my leave. Until we talk again, Keep the Faith; be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; and may your god go with you. Of course, 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. On the sheep, Grace.

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