CHARMIAN, like Cher and Madonna, achieved single-name renown on the Northcoast partly, perhaps, because her column in this publication seemed an anomaly, a little old lady writing little old lady prose in a weekly newspaper, ahem, heavily reflective of its boisterous times. Charmian expressed no hesitation whatsoever at her dubious journalistic company, plunging right in to what might seem to the unaccustomed eye a maniacal weekly mosh pit, she and the late Joan Bloyd serving as dual oases of anachronistic calm in a 12-page sea of turbulent opinion. I seriously doubt, however, that Charmian ever read anything beyond the safety zone of her own column.
My dear old mum once commented, “It's nice you have one normal person in the mix.” And Charmian herself asked me early on, “So, Bruce, are these people hippies or what?” I said my contributors would fall more into the Or What category than hippie. Charmian told lots of funny stories she felt were just a little too louche for her column. One was about Smokey, quite a local legend in his own right. One night when Smokey had had a few, and anticipating Charmian's wrath, Himself pretended to be drunker than he was. He thought if he could pretend to be loaded he and Charmian would share the joke and he would escape a scolding. So, coming through the door Smokey faked a pratfall, sprawling over the doorstep, but quickly regained his feet and, with a cavalier laugh, said, “Hah! Fooled you, didn't I?” Charmian said she laughed right back and said, “No. But nice try, Smokey.” In August of '08, The Major and I visited Charmian at the Brookside Convalescent Compound in Ukiah. She didn't recognize us, but when she stood next to the piano with The Major at the keyboard she had no trouble remembering song lyrics, belting out Danny Boy and other old Irish favorites. Given her circumstances, and not that Brookside is particularly bleak given the givens of these places, Charmian seemed happy with her life in Ukiah, and we left happy that she was happy.
ALBERTO GUERRA-PEREZ, 26, was driving drunk the early evening of May 20th when he piled head-on into Tom Smith's ancient Toyota pick-up. Guerra-Perez had been headed toward Boonville when he apparently attempted to turn off 128 into the Standish Winery between Navarro and Philo and struck the Navarro-bound Smith. Smith, a long-time resident of the Anderson Valley where he coached high school soccer, died at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital two weeks later. According to the most recent court records we could find on the case, Mr. Guerra-Perez will plead guilty to felony drunk driving causing great bodily injury and fleeing the scene of an accident. He'll serve five years and eight months in state prison. “Part of the disposition is DA will not file a manslaughter/murder charge.” Ordinarily, a lethal drunk driver who flees the scene gets another five years for running, but in this one the fleeing part was not punished. And the woman who drove Guerra-Perez from the scene has not been charged. Guerra-Perez is scheduled for formal sentencing in Judge Henderson’s court on October 22, 2010.
AT LAST, at long last the Boonville Saloon opened last week, rising from the figurative ashes of the Boonville Lodge which I, like many others, will continue to refer to it as. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to opening night, and I hear I missed a real doozie, complete with a little fisticuffs. I made up for lost time last Saturday where a thirsty crowd of faces met me that I haven’t seen since last New Year’s when the Lodge closed. But all the regular barroom fixtures, me included, soon sat happily upon our respective stools. Vince Ballew was still king of the pool table, even though we all took a turn at upsetting his throne. The talk was all about the recently released on DVD movie “Pighunt.” Before, the bar only had a poster for the locally filmed flick. Now, they have a splendidly mounted boar’s head with magnificent tusks and an eager expression on his grinning face. I ordered a gin and tonic, and was delighted to find out they're as cheap as the Forest Club’s! After a couple of cocktails I was considered pretty good company; but after a third, I was getting cocky enough to get my face smashed, so I left early.
WRITERS BEING WRITERS, we're unable to say with much precision which will appear when in the AVA's Fair Booth. You can for sure meet Todd Walton from 3:30 to 5pm on Saturday afternoon. Bruce Patterson will appear Saturday from 1pm to 3pm, Bruce McEwen Friday, Saturday and Sunday at various times in the afternoon all three days. Robert Mailer Anderson will appear Saturday and Sunday at noon, Mark Scaramella mornings all three days, The Editor like whenever, with special guest appearances by whomever else shows up and claims vague affiliation with the paper. We'll have books and t-shirts, too, along with plenty of provocative opinion.
LOST DOG: Last seen on Nash Mill Road in the vicinity of Clow Ridge. 'Highway,' about 5 years old, brown, approximately 70 lbs, mixed breed German Shepherd, squat, with a large head and short feet. Friendly. Call 272-0567 with info.
THE TEEN CENTER’S new manager, Cassidy Geppert, is off to a fast start. On September 26 The Valley's keen teens are headed for Schooner Gulch Beach and Park on Mendocino’s Southcoast for a wholesome day pondering the wonders of the natural world. Follow these bracing hours in sea air the Teen Center crew will engage in a “creative writing exercise” about the trip. On October 10-11, Ms. Geppert (and some chaperones) will accompany as many as 18 local young people to Point Reyes National Seashore and Park for an overnight expedition of hiking, whale-watching and introduction to “interpretive programs.” ($25 per teen.) On Saturday, October 23 Ms. Geppert will lead a group of teenagers to the Vertex Climbing Center in Santa Rosa for two hours of rock climbing and “belaying instruction.” ($10 tuition.) For more information contact Teen Center organizers Colleen Schenk (895-3053) or Donna Pierson-Pugh (895-3144).
LIKE TO SING? The Anderson Valley Community Chorus, an Adult School class, has begun and welcomes newcomers. The class meets weekly at the High School on Wednesdays from 7 to 9 pm. Call Lynn for information, 895-3653.
NO TRIVIA QUIZ TOMORROW (Thursday, September 16), reports Quizmaster Steve Sparks, as he quickly added, “We will be back to exercise your minds on Thursday, September 23rd at 7pm.” Steve also functions as soccer coach, bingo caller and now parade judge. The Valley's unofficial mayor can certainly be excused for taking an occasional rest from Trivia, the game, if not the Trivia, cluttering all our lives.
PERSONS who'd like to help clean up the beach at Navarro, 9-noon on Saturday the 25th are invited to assemble there on that day at that time. The effort is sponsored by the local branch of the Sierra Club.
A NEW YORK TIMES reporter is in town trying to find “a white collar person” involved in the marijuana industry. My advice? Ask the next three white collars you see and at least one of them will be the person you're looking for.
UNTIL POSTMISTRESS COLETTE of the Boonville Post Office called Petaluma, last week's papers were again stranded at the vast sorting facility. We started getting calls on Thursday that papers hadn't arrived at various points in NorCal. We called Colette, Colette called Petaluma and, sure enough, there they were, the AVA bags, forlorn and forgotten. Whatever Colette says to Petaluma it gets them hopping. By Friday, our readers had their weekly fix.
ON FULL BLAST at the otherwise deserted Anderson Valley Elementary School last Sunday evening about six, the heater, the air conditioner, and the lights serving the empty computer room were going full blast.
WHEN THE AV AMBULANCE volunteers checked their fundraising Fair booth the other day they were startled, then dismayed, to discover that the booth's weekend occupants had sold all their Fair time supplies and had left the place in what one volunteer described as “a big mess.” The Volunteers had scrubbed and cleaned the booth and stocked it with three days' worth of food to be sold at the Fair. The Vols are pointing fingers but they say the last people to use the booth were the Little Guys Football Moms.
IN OTHER sports news, the revived Boonville Panther football team coached by Logo Tevaseau, John Toohey, and Pastor Bill, roughed up Point Arena in Point Arena last Saturday, 56-12. Friday night The Panthers take on Calistoga at Calistoga, kick-off at 7:30. The volleyballers beat Fort Bragg and Santa Rosa Christian, lost to Rincon Valley and a school called Priory, which may or may not be a convent-like sequester for girls in the posh Peninsula enclave of Woodside. The AV unsequestered girl's soccer team lost 6-1 to Sonoma Academy, a major step forward in its way, the girls having lost to SA last time around by a whole lot more.
THE AFFECTING LETTER from Mr. Scaife in this week's paper reminded me that if you remember Maggie's in Yorkville you can call yourself Almost An Old Timer. Ditto if you enjoyed tacos at Leo's in Yorkville where Leo, a wonderful performer, always had the latest jokes and even sang and danced a bit. I remember stopping in at Maggie's one afternoon for a beer when Maggie, an elderly woman inevitably propped up at the door as if to bar entrance to undesirables, of which there were many in her opinion, was still angry at a young man she said had just streaked the place. “He just ran in here naked and ran out again,” Maggie complained. Maggie was No Shoes, No Shirt to the max, as was the lunatic proprietor of Navarro-At-The-Beach in the same fraught era. He'd run hippies off at gun point, and he'd posted a sign outside that read, “I don't mind the hippie movement so long as they keep on moving.” I'd heard he'd done time for murder, and one terrifying day this guy denounced a combat Vietnam Vet friend of mine as a hippie and ordered him to leave before we'd even sat down. I was able to bear hug my chum out the door before he could jump the counter where Mr. Nut Cake surely kept a loaded weapon. Those were the days.
AND SO ARE THESE, if you're a school administrator: Newly appointed Boonville High School principal Jim Tomlin makes $82,197 for an abbreviated year's labor, as does Elementary principal Donna Pierson-Pugh. Semi-retired admin guy JR Collins works part time as superintendent for $31,020. Teachers and all other staff took a permanent pay cut last year. The three admin people only took a cut for one year, and you're an Old Timer if you remember when Mel “Boom-Boom” Baker was paid $20 grand to run the whole show, back in the days when there was competitive hiring. Forty years later, it's all in-house and a cozy-wozy 5-0 school board vote for whatever outrageous compensation the Big Three asks for.
AV BREWING announces its holiday release of Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale, “a luscious, creamy, smooth, and warming medium-bodied ale.” Hey! I think I used to know her! Didn't she used to be called Gail?
THIS JUST IN: Friday, September 24th, 8pm, just back from Burning Man, DJ Pete “will play the tunes while you dance, hoop, yoga or whatever” at Grange Groove, Philo Grange.
THE GHASTLY new Rhys Vineyard, Navarro, formerly known as Horse Haven, will help itself to an annual 14 acre feet of water “from an unnamed tributary to Floodgate Creek.” Perry Creek stand by. No permit was required by host county, Mendo. It seems that these Rhys characters have also built themselves a big holding pond, and enlarged it, all without oversight.