Greetings one and all. If you are sitting comfortably then I shall begin, on a sorrowful note I’m afraid. Having just attended a funeral in San Francisco for my friends’ two-and-a-half year old son who died from meningitis — happy and healthy on Wednesday; dead on Thursday — I have to think that the loss of a child must be one of the most tragic and overwhelmingly sad things that someone can ever endure. The parents, Pat and Doreen Ryan, are very popular and well known in the City’s Irish community and there was a huge crowd in attendance. It was humbling and heartrending to see so many grown men and women all in various degrees of tearful distress. There is nothing good to come out of such an occasion except perhaps that each of us learned a little more about ourselves on this difficult and mournful day.
With that in mind I offer you this Quote of the Week from Dr. John DeFrain, professor of Family Science, “The death of a young child is like a stone cast into the stillness of a quiet pool; the concentric ripples of despair sweep out in all directions, affecting many, many people in many, many ways.” R.I.P. Joe Ryan, you will always be remembered as the ‘little buddy’ to many.
Onward, ever onward. I think it’s been too long since our last Wine of the Week, don’t you? I thought so. Here we go. As I enthusiastically devoured my sliced sirloin with horseradish and creamy mashed potatoes a couple of weeks ago at Lauren’s Restaurant in Boonville, I found myself sipping on a delicious 2005 Zinfandel from the Valley’s Navarro Winery. The taste sensation in my mouth when the medium-rare meat and red wine blended together was, as regular readers can well imagine, positively orgasmic and I highly recommend such a pairing. Furthermore, as I sat there in the afterglow, Lauren herself approached me and said she had been disappointed with my past negative review of her French fries and couldn’t understand what had happened. Now, it should be noted that I never write a negative review unless I have tasted something substandard at least twice. I figure surely everyone is entitled to make at least one mistake (ask Dick Sands, former Senior Bus Driver). Lauren’s fries had been poor on two occasions previously (when I ordered them to go, we believe) so I decided to try them again. Lauren returned with the fries. What can I say? They were superb! It’s difficult perhaps for many of you to get too worked up about French fries but these were definitely worth getting worked up about, I assure you. Even Goshawk, over here from England, was very impressed and she knows a thing or two about her national dish ‘chips,’ as they strangely refer to them. They were most certainly in my All-Time Top Five French Fry Experiences. I think I’ve said enough. Get out and try some.
And now, obviously, The Whine of the Week. They’re back! Yes, folks, the biker hordes are slowly returning to the Valley for their summer rides during which they stop at various local establishments and try to scare us with their menacing poses and glares (they fail miserably at this) and annoy us with their ridiculously loud motorbikes (certainly they have some success there). When I become Mayor of the Valley (I’m looking at the year 2020 when everyone will have perfect vision and vote for me) I shall strongly suggest that Valley residents confront these weekend bikers in their rarely worn, stiff and shiny new leathers, posing as rebels, when they annoyingly rev up their very noisy Harleys. They will be pointed at by the locals and will be told, “See you in the office on Monday.” They are mostly accountants, bankers, and lawyers etc., after all. What are they going to do? Throw their laptops at us? And if things get a little ugly, then we’ll deal with them in the tried and tested Boonvillian way, via The Hanging Tree on Anderson Valley Way before visiting the hungry pigs on Ornbaun Road. ‘Nuff said.
Now on to some of the topics under discussion this week at The 3-Dot Lounge. Yes it’s “Moans, Groans, Good Thoughts, and Rampant Rumors” from my favorite bar/restaurant in the Valley at a location known only to those in the know. (three dots, geddit?) Despite the rumors swirling around The 3-Dot, as far as my expert team of investigative reporters can discern, there is no truth to the scurrilous hearsay and slanderous scuttlebutt that ‘King’ Ken Allen is planning to install life-size statue of himself in bronze at the entrance to his AV Brewery.
Most regulars at The 3-Dot seem to give big ‘thumbs up’ to the job being done by local Deputy Sheriff Craig Walker since his arrival in the Valley a few months ago. With Deputy Miller re-assigned after a short stint here, we are back to just Deputies Squires and Walker and the latter has fit in very well indeed. He seems to be making wise decisions and with his Berkeley upbringing he’s taking a somewhat liberal slant on some of the issues he’s confronted with. Not a bad approach in these parts; not to mention the fact that he loves dogs. In his case it’s a border collie (to help herd up the miscreants no doubt)…
The buzz among our senior regulars at The 3-Dot is that the new Senior Bus Driver is none other than Natalie Matson, former owner/operator of the One Horse Espresso stand in downtown Boonville. Some of them have not been attending the various senior functions of late but hopefully they will now reconsider, as I’m sure she will do a splendid job with her business-like attitude, effervescent personality, and winning smile. I offer her both sincere best wishes and the sound advice to check that the bus is empty before closing it up for the night. You just never know…
On a serious note, the economic depression is hitting many in the Valley very hard. I mentioned last week that at every Valley event I’ve attended in the past few months the numbers have been significantly down on previous years and there are no sawmills here for the first time since 1860. This has been reinforced by the recent comments from Vince Ballew and Wayne Hiatt, both lifetime Valley residents. Wayne since the early 50s. They have never known it this bad.
Well, we started on a sad note and then finished in a gloomy tone. Oh, well, life’s a bitch, but then it has puppies! So next week’s column will be like hanging out with a litter of pups and it doesn’t get much better than that. It’s time to take my leave. Be careful out there, stay out of the ditches; think good thoughts, and, with the hot weather, please remember to keep your windows cracked if you have pets in your vehicle. May your god go with you. One final request: “Let us prey.” Humbly yours, Turkey Vulture.