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Bird’s Eye View

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. Today sees the annual ‘Olde Time 4th of July Celebration’ from noon to 4pm at The Fairgrounds in Boonville. It’s all happening — parades; hot dogs and tri-tip sandwiches; root beer floats, wine and beer; games, races, “rooster crowing,” “‘hen clucking,” and of course, the Tug-of-War Contest. With the event being “hosted” by Hummingbird, referred to by society observer Mitchell Holman as “the biggest ham in town, “I can’t imagine why I won’t see you there. (PS. It is not mere coincidence that I love the sight of a ham on my dining table and also ended up marrying the biggest “ham” in town.)

The 26 television viewers in the Valley, including myself and Hummingbird, will be well aware that Anne Curry, the television personality, news journalist, and co-host of NBC’s Today program, was unceremoniously fired last week. She departed at the end of a tearful on-air farewell in what became a huge talking point for many television viewers around the country. However, she did not seem to be too sad on Friday evening when she was with friends enjoying dinner in Boonville at Lauren’s Restaurant! I guess we can all learn from this. When things seem at their very worst, there is always a silver-lining to be gleaned from somewhere.

As Anne and I sipped wine together, I reminded her of this and we swapped a number of wise sayings on the topic of optimism. This now becomes your Quotes of the Week. Let’s start with something from the brilliant Jane Austen (1775-1817), the English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Her realism and biting social commentary has gained her historical importance among scholars and critics and she preferred to “Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery.” Then of course there is this classic from Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), the Irish writer, poet, and wit, who famously said, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” However, perhaps the comment that most closely follows my own curmudgeonly point of view, is this from Havelock Ellis (1859-1939), the British physician and psychologist, writer, and social reformer who studied human sexuality, and who wrote, “The place where optimism most flourishes is the lunatic asylum.”

The Three-Dot Lounge was closed this past week for renovation so I have nothing to report from the discussions normally held among the locals who like to hang out there. However, I did run into one regular customer, The Old Buzzard, the weekly contributor to this column in the form of his insightful series, “The Approach of the Apocalypse.” He was a little out of sorts having recently spoken with Billy Graham, the evangelical Christian who was also talking about optimism and had told the Buzzard, “If I didn’t have spiritual faith I would be a pessimist. But I am an optimist. I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out alright.” The Buzzard was not convinced and responded with his own words of wisdom, “Wise up, dude.”

Public Service Announcements. Calendars and pens at the ready. #228. With the new owners at the AV Farm Supply continuing to run the operation just as before their purchase, the vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital will still be making their visits to the Valley to see our pets on a regular basis. In the month of July they have two visits planned; the first of these is tomorrow, Thursday, July 5 from 2-to 3:30pm. They’ll be back on July 19. #229. This coming Saturday, July 7, is the 15th Annual Boonville ArtWalk when you can enjoy the warm hospitality and vibrant art that Boonville is famous for. ArtWalk is an event sponsored by AVArts, the AV Chamber of Commerce, and Boonville merchants and takes place from Noon-6pm, with dozens of local artists and craftspeople at businesses throughout the downtown area. With creative art activities for kids and adults, it’s a great summer family outing! Call 707-895-2204 for more information. #230. Next Tuesday, July 10, 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! #231. The 2nd Annual PawFest to benefit the AV Animal Rescue is once again at the AV Brewery. Fun, food, drink, live music from local musicians who make up The Peanut Butter Jam Band, raffle, silent auction, dog demos and an appearance by local Deputy Walker and his dog Argus, all from 2pm to 6pm on Sunday, July 15. #232. The Navarro Store has just two shows this year — disappointing, I know/ But when there are so many rules and regulations to follow and every county agency wants a piece of your pie, it is no longer possible for impresario Dave Evans to do what he used to do and give us quality live music all summer long. However, he has lined-up blues rock slide guitarist Roy Rogers for July 21 and then later in the year it will be the one-and-only electric blues harpist Charlie Musselwhite on Sept 1.

Time to take my leave. Until we talk again, Keep the Faith; be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; remember to keep your vehicle’s windows cracked if you have pets inside; 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! PPPS. On the sheep, Grace.

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