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Bird’s Eye View 7/1/2009

Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin. Good god, it’s been hot! However, there’s no rest for the wicked so here we go.

Public Service Announcements: Just one this week but very important: This Saturday is the ‘Olde Time 4th of July Celebration’ from noon to 4pm at the Fairgrounds in Boonville. $3 for adults, kids free. It’s all going on: parades, hot dogs and tri-tip sandwiches, root beer floats, wine and beer, games, races, and of course, the Ferocious Tug-of-War Contest. All to benefit the AV Education Foundation. Ya gotta like that!

As I flew over Boonville last Wednesday evening I was startled to observe so much activity on the fields behind the High School. On closer inspection I observed Rob and Barbara Goodell, Doug Johnson, and friends playing volleyball, the AV Women’s softball team practicing, the adult soccer team, La Laguneta, training hard, and, perhaps sweating more than all, the High School soccer team at their first summer practice. With Coach Tom Smith in China on vacation, I spoke with Coach Steve Sparks who informed me that the loss to graduation of many seniors from the 2008 team will result in this being a transitional year with perhaps only two seniors and one junior in the starting line-up. Thus a very young and inexperienced Panther team will be on show. Still, he felt that the League title was not beyond the squad’s abilities while acknowledging that many of the non-league match-ups were going to be very tough. With 20 boys in attendance, at least the lack of preparation will not be the reason for any shortcoming, and the ‘doom and gloom’ crowd may yet be surprised. From there I zoomed into town. It was deserted with maybe just five vehicles in the whole downtown area. It was a little eerie and I almost missed the hullabaloo of the previous weekend’s music festival. But only for a second or two. That was before I regained my senses and thought: This Valley is an even more wonderful place on a serene summer’s evening.

I read with interest and enjoyment the report by Steve Heilig in last week’s AVA on that Sierra Nevada World Music Festival held here in Boonville. He had a very positive experience and in my own conversations with locals who were around Boonville, or who worked downtown during the event, it seems to once more have been a success from their point of view. This gathering sees far fewer annoying incidents than witnessed at the AV Beer Festival but I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Heilig’s comment that it needs a more appropriate name now that it is held here in the Valley. His ‘Boontstock’ is good, and may suffice, but perhaps is not quite right. Anyway, I hope that whatever it is called, the numbers will not shrink anymore. Certainly the revelers I had a few drinks with on Sunday afternoon in The Boonville Lodge will continue to attend no matter what. They love the music, they love the Valley, they even declared their love for me. And I’d like to think that their affection was not just due to the ecstasy and mushrooms.

I was once again lucky enough to attend the most recent show in the Saturday Night Live Music series at The Navarro Store. I don’t wish to harp on about this but the music is first rate every time I go and on this occasion John Nemith and his band were exceptional. With great ability on the blues harp and a soulful voice not dissimilar to a young Van Morrison (high praise indeed!), he had the crowd open-mouthed in admiration and raising the roof (if there had been one) with their applause and cheers. It was yet another great night amongst the redwoods and this weekend’s July 4th celebration down in the Deep End, featuring The Blackhorse Blues Band, will probably match it. And not just because Tommy Hopper will be responsible for, as he put it, “the watering-down of the ladies t-shirts” in that much anticipated competition. The mind boggles.

On to the Quote of the Week. I have no problem with wet t-shirt competitions and if women (and some men) feel that ‘soggy jock strap’ tournaments should be organized too then that’s fine, albeit not something I would have much interest in to be quite honest (despite being in touch with the feminine side of my brain quite often!) Nevertheless, with all this in mind, here we have some words from Katherine Mansfield, one of the world's best-known short story writers and New Zealand's most famous author, who commented, “How idiotic civilization is! Why be given a body if you have to keep it shut up in a case like a rare, rare fiddle?” Tommy assures me, in an undoubted factual and non-sexist way, that he will be involved in the exposing of some fine ‘fiddles’ this weekend down Navarro way.

It’s time to take my leave. Before I go I’d like to pass on under the heading ‘Life Lessons’ a little more advice you may find useful at some point: “The consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell your friends over and over and over again that you love them.” Not a terrible crime of course, but sometimes a little irritating.

Be careful out there, stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts, and, with the hot weather now a daily occurrence, please remember to keep your windows cracked if you have pets in your vehicle. They won’t last long if you don’t. May your god go with you. Have a Happy 4th! One final request, “Let us prey.”

Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture.

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