GONE IN 2010 but not forgotten:
J. Robert ‘Bob’ Mathias
Frances Sylvia Martin
Thomas Charles ‘Tom’ Smith
Patricia ‘Pat’ (Noonan) Erickson
Warren ‘Skip’ Harris
Dorothy Mae Williams
Mariano Lopez Fernandez
Lester Edward Smith Sr.
Shirley McMillen Boltz Zeni
Lloyd Earl ‘Bill’ Severn
Thomas Alexander Burger
THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT'S press release flew in out of cyber-space. It said that Eugene Marshall Bright was missing from his Philo home. That's not a missing man!" I exclaimed. "That's Digger." Digger, the surviving twin of his brother, Tater, is now 76. Digger's a kind of ward of Sylvia Carsey's. Sylvia keeps an eye on him, makes sure he's eating, takes him to his medical appointments. But suddenly on last Thursday's rainy, chill night shortly after ten when Sylvia went to check on him, Digger wasn't in his modest house just off 128 across the street from Guadalupe Estates, or whatever the Ashikus call their cluster of rentals these days. Sylvia had visited Digger about 5:30 that afternoon, but a few hours later Digger' and his faithful little poodle were gone. Neighbors thought they'd heard someone yelling for help, and a Boonville couple soon reported that they thought they saw Digger walking south near Yorkville, which seemed unlikely since Digger isn't strong enough to walk much of anywhere anymore. Sylvia drove up and down looking for the missing man. No Digger. Deputy Squires was consulted about noon the next day, Christmas Eve. The deputy was off duty. The search team had tardily thought to consult him. "Look out in back of the red house," the deputy advised. "He might be out there." Which is where Digger and his loyal little dog were. Digger was pinned in a tangle of brush, unable to free himself, but none the worse for the wear after a very long, very cold night outside virtually in his own backyard. Informed that his neighbors had said they'd heard some ominous cries, Digger replied, "They sure did. It was me calling for someone to get me the hell outta here." The Anderson Valley Ambulance transported the missing man to Ukiah for a medical once over and Digger was home in time for Christmas.
THE AMAZING DEPUTY SQUIRES, four decades in the Anderson Valley, resolves a lot of local matters, and a whole lot of local crime, without leaving his house. The Deputy's kinda like Santa Claus; he knows who's been naughty, who's been nice. However perspicacious the deputy may be, and he operates pretty much at max most of the time, he said Monday that he and deputy Walker are mystified by last week's burglary of the Sanchez place. "Whoever did it took six expensive rifles but not much of anything else," the deputy said. "We're waiting for the guns to start showing up, but we don't even have a suspect right now. The guy we thought might have done it is in Mexico."
PIK 'N PAY won't be the same without Irene Soto, the unfailingly pleasant morning shift clerk. Irene said Tuesday morning that she wanted "to be home more with my kids." Lucky kids, unlucky us. Where else could you find a smile at 5am on a wintry Boonville morning?
WE USED to have a Christmas lights contest, but these meager words will have to serve as recognition this Christmas season that saw, I would say, the most spectacular array of lighted displays ever. Thank you to everyone who lifted all our spirits this holiday season and good luck with your PG&E bills.
LOCALS CERTAINLY won't want to miss a rare opportunity to watch gifted actors perform live on Saturday, February 12th at the Philo Grange when Renee Auberjonois and Howard Hesseman perform Off The Cuff. Refreshments at 6:30, curtain at 7:30.
THOSE WHO FELT the Boonville earthquake at 2:31 pm Christmas Day described it as "one hard jolt, and that was it." According to the government's earthquake website, the jolt measured 1.0 on the Richter and occurred a mile down 14 miles southwest of Ukiah. Which is us. Judging from the accompanying map, the epicenter looks like it was somewhere between the CalFire station and the Bradford Ranch.
PLAN NOW for the 5th Annual Anderson Valley Film Festival, the weekend of January 28th to 30th, "3 days, 17 films benefitting local charities." One of the films is called "Jonestown — The Life and Death of People's Temple." That saga is generally well-known in Mendocino County because its principal, Reverend Jones, once functioned here as foreman of the Mendocino County Grand Jury, 1978? That report, a ghoulish collector's item I suppose, has long since disappeared. It is probably less well known locally that Jones also taught the 5th grade at Anderson Valley Elementary for two years when the late Bob Mathias functioned as local superintendent of schools. Mathias and Jones both came from Indiana.
BASKETBALL RESUMES on Tuesday evening the 11th of January with away games at Geyserville. The very next night, Wednesday, January 12th, right here in the Boonville gym, the Panthers take on a strong Point Arena quintet with whom the Panthers are supposed to contend for the league championship.
SPECIAL ABOVE AND BEYOND awards to The Valley's post office people for pulling off another flawlessly efficient Christmas rush, and special kudos to UPS's man in the Anderson Valley, Matt Eaquinto, who's still putting in 12-hour days a week after Christmas.
AS WE GO to press there are flood watches on the Navarro and the Russian rivers. The Navarro will close at Flynn Creek Road and 128 while the Russian slips its banks at Hopland on 101. Every winter I'm surprised at the number of locals who don't seem to know that they can still reach the Mendocino Coast via Comptche, but when the Russian rages at Hopland, well, you've gotta go way outta your way to get north or south.