Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. And a “Happy Thanksgiving Day” to all! What a great day. “Well done!” to whoever thought of it. Family, friends, food, drink, and football — it doesn’t get much better than that!
Meanwhile, I have a special treat for readers this week: an enlightening trip down Memory Lane to celebrate 10 years of A Bird’s Eye View. It all began on November 24, 2004 with the original column below in italics.
But first here are a couple of Public Service Announcements. #413. The Vets from the Mendocino Animal Hospital have now confirmed that they will make a visit on Thursday, December 11. #414. The Mendocino Bookmobile visits the Valley on Tuesday, November 18. (Alternate Tuesdays for 45 minutes at each stop): Navarro Store 9am (30 minutes); the Floodgate 12.30pm; Philo 1.30pm; Boonville (Apple Hall) 2.30pm. Phone 463-4694 for further details.
Here is the menu for the Community lunches over the next week at the Senior Center at the Veterans Building in Boonville — $6 donation from seniors and $7 for Non-seniors. Closed for Thanksgiving tomorrow (Nov 27). But on Tuesday, December 2, the menu for the 12.15pm lunch will feature Meatloaf, Mashed Potatoes w/Gravy, Carrots, Rolls, Tabbouleh Salad with Birthday Cup Cakes for dessert. Remember, all ages welcome! Hope to see you there.
And now a blast from the past: the first Turkey Vulture column, from on Wednesday, November 24th, 2004. Thanks to one and all for your support over the years.
Valley dwellers and those beyond. As I travel in and around the beautiful Anderson Valley I am able to observe all sorts of weird and wonderful goings-on from my bird's eye view. Many sightings are strange yet true and my interpretations of them may well appear cruel but hopefully fair and just. You be the judge.
Let me begin by saying that it's a turkey's life and this week, of all weeks, you are welcome to such a life! With my feathered friends going at $7.95 for a sixteen-pounder their lives seem even more worthless than I had ever thought. I for one will not be devouring one of them this year but not, however, because my predatory instincts are wavering. No, an important dignitary from England, The Duke of Erdington, will be in town visiting friends for the Thanksgiving holiday and at his request, instead of turkey, a succulent lamb has been slaughtered and along with other assorted “turkeys” from the Valley, we shall be enjoying the delights of an organic, free-range, alfalfa fed, apple munching lambs leg. I can almost hear it baaahing.
Just this past week I was witness to a delightful Monday evening at the local hostelry, The Buckhorn Saloon. As always the beers were excellent and this was not just the opinion of those who produce them. The AV Brewery Crew, who were there in force, but also those of many others who were in attendance. There was much eating, drinking and merry-making as Monday Night Football played on the televisions, and, to complement the ales, the bar provided free snacks including some delicious bacon and cheese on potato skins and plates of spicy nachos. A fine time was had by all, added to by a smiling face behind the bar. Well done to Diana and the Gang.
During another recent trip along the Valley floor, I stopped by The Farm Supply to pick up some animal supplies and keep my appointment for my aging and injured dog with Dr. Katy Summers from the Mendocino Animal Hospital. She, or one of her fellow vets, is at this venue almost every Tuesday afternoon (2pm. 3.30pm; call to confirm) and a marvelous job they do too! It is a vital service to many people in the Valley and the care, knowledge, and genuine concern of Katy and the other vets are second to none. Their cause is aided and abetted by the animal-loving Nancy and Dave Gowan who do a splendid job of their own in owning and operating the Farm Supply and should be thanked for providing this venue for the vets.
As I made my way to the coast along Highway 128 on a rainy day a couple of weeks ago, I and many others found ourselves hindered in the desire to drive at a safe but efficient 45 mph by a “stranger in a strange land” (a tourist) who insisted on a 25 mph speed. He was in a nifty little sports car and being right behind him I could make out his middle-aged appearance chattering away to a much younger woman at his side in the passenger seat. The road was slick and overtaking somewhat perilous yet as we passed numerous turnouts he refused to pull over and I watched as he continued to regale his “friend” with no doubt fascinating tales. Finally, with seven cars behind me I had to make a move and on a stretch of road where visibility into the distance was clear I made my move. As I went by I gave him my old “vulture” stare and a look of incredulity. Predictably, not wishing to be “questioned” in front of the friend, the man “bravely” flipped me off. What is it with these folks who, while they are entitled to drive at any speed they wish, seem to think that everyone else has to, and then if their annoying behavior is pointed out to them they react in this way? Self-obsessed bastards is all I can come up with. SOBs for short. and our highways are full of them. As I often say, to those few who listen, the road is a place where one is often thrown into some sort of confrontational interaction with people one would never deal with in one's daily routine. Road rage is the ultimate reaction to these situations but fortunately most of us simply grimace and knowingly say to ourselves, “SOB!” or something to that effect.
The other day, a good friend and I were ruminating about ruminants (i.e. thinking deeply about sheep) as we relaxed on a hilltop above Yorkville surveying the Valley below. He clearly had a topic of some concern on his mind and as we each popped open a can of Guinness he turned to me and said, “TV (his short for Turkey Vulture), have you ever wondered why they call them sheep herders or shepherds when they actually work with flocks of sheep not herds?” Before I could come up with some sort of witty reply he added, “I guess “sheep flockers” was never going to stick." He is a wise man.
Not for the first time, the highlight of my fun-filled week was once again the visit to the Dump on Mountain View Road. Election hangover. Just a few days ago as I was relaxing in my nest high above the Valley, I thought to myself that I was still somewhat astonished by the actual election results. However, as I studied various magazines I was not at all surprised to hear certain viewpoints from those entrusted with the upcoming four years of leadership in this country. Now I do not wish to get too political in my musings, and I rarely will, but some things just have to be commented on. For instance, the new senator for Oklahoma has called for not just the outlawing of abortion but for the death penalty for doctors who break such a law. Another new senator, from South Carolina, has said single mothers and homosexuals should not teach in schools. And a third new senator, from South Dakota, is a creationist and no doubt looks forward to the day when such theories appear in schoolbooks. Whatever your beliefs, surely these extreme convictions are no way to mend a wounded and divided country and one can only hope that the inevitable attempts to introduce such radical conservative social policies into law are unsuccessful. But what do I know? I'm just a simple Turkey Vulture in the country with Valley “stuff” to prey upon. Let us prey.
I’m outtahere. Hope you enjoyed the trip down Memory Lane. some things never change do they? Anyway, until we talk again, Keep the Faith; be careful out there; stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts; be wary of strangers with more dogs than teeth; please remember to keep your windows cracked if you have pets in your vehicle; and may your god go with you. Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture. (Contact me with words of support/abuse through the Letters Page or at email@example.com. PS. Skylark, read any good books lately? … Keep on humming, Hummingbird. … Everything cool with you, OJ? Of course it is.