THERE ARE PEOPLE we all assume are indestructible, indomitable people who seem to go on and on, but whose passings, when they come even at an advanced age, are still unexpected. Rosalie Reynold's death in Ukiah last week at age 92 surprised me because the last time I saw her she had been her usual optimistic self, frail and in a walker, but as always laughing and looking past the surgery she would never recovered from. I'd stopped in to see Rosalie at her new home on the West side of Ukiah, a neat little craftsman-like place she was justly proud of. She was very much the lady in the old fashioned sense that combined perfect manners and an unflappable dignity without ever being stuffy, virtues extinct in the less scrupulous generations since. Rosalie was hugely admired in the Anderson Valley for her unflagging devotion to any number of local projects, all the while smiling through some terrible in-house tragedies beginning with the loss of her husband, Jack, when she and Jack lived in Willits. She then moved to the top of the Holmes Ranch where she lived for many years next door to her daughter, Lee, with the rest of her family nearby at Rancho Navarro. Rosalie was always a rock. never unpleasant, unfailingly gracious in even the most fraught circumstances, always moving on without ever allowing herself succumb to self-pity or immobilizing grief. Modest to the end, Rosalie wished no memorial service. I haven't known anybody I admired more.
THE ANNUAL Tri-Tip Barbecue Ambulance Service Benefit Fund-raiser will be this Sunday, August 9th from 4:30-7:30pm at the Boonville Fairgrounds. Adults: $15 (pre-sale tickets $12), and under-12 $7 (pre-sale $6). Advance discount tickets are available at All That Good Stuff and AV Market in Boonville and Lemons' Market in Philo. (Also at the Anderson Valley Firehouse, but call first to make sure the office is open.) The dinner will be prepared by the always reliable Lions Club and will include a generous tri-tip steak, baked potato, salad, bread, dessert and lemonade. Bring the whole family.
COUPLA INTRIGUING RUMORS sweeping The Valley this week: There's a rhino in the east hills. Or is it just a real ugly cow? No, rhino, as in the great beast of the African veldt. Or the smaller Asian rhino, but a rhino nevertheless at the Bell Valley ranch on the Ukiah Road where the white deer roam.
SECOND RUMOR says the drug cops are poised to sweep through Boonville for an all-out pot-grab, which is highly unlikely considering there are at least three addresses of Boonville's 600 or so where the herb remains unknown. Paranoia seems to have set in early this year. But deputies Squires and Walker have warned a few local backyard growers that their plot are “a little too obvious and, like, move them.”
KEVIN BROIN, the widely respected captain of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department and an unsuccessful candidate for Sheriff, has retired after 25 years of service. I encountered Broin several times over the years, and encountered him often when he functioned as the Sheriff's media guy. He was always helpful, always did his work the way it's supposed to be done. We're sorry to see The Captain go.
WE CAN'T HELP but notice that Rhys Vineyards has literally supplanted the old landmark Red and White Ranch at Navarro, but prompting me to wonder if Rhys descends from the novelist Jean Rhys, author of the oddest, and among the most oddly compelling fiction you'll read, Wide Sargasso Sea. It wouldn't seem so. A quick google reveals that a fellow named Kevin Harvey owns Rhys Vineyards, Jason Jardine manages the enterprise and Jeff Brinkman makes the wine.
POST OFFICE people say they expect any day now to be told that Saturday deliveries are over as communications go more and more electronic, and they worry that Tuesdays might become a mandated day off for them, the thinking at the federal level being that Tuesdays are the lightest mail days of the week as Anderson Valley postmasters say Tuesdays are heavy mail days here.
IMPRESARIO DAVE EVANS of The Navarro Store Presents reminds us that his season ends with the appearance of the legendary bluesman, Johnny Winter, on Labor Day weekend Monday, September 7th at 3pm. Our very own David Dart will appear at 2pm, an hour prior. The irrepressible Evans also reports that last weekend's Mark Hummel's “Harmonica Blowout” had “Navarro rockin' all the way to Boonville,” and that House of Floyd this Saturday night and Roy Rogers the Saturday night after that just might get people dancing clear out to Yorkville.
AV FARM SUPPLY, aka Nancy and Dave Gowan, is open for business, seamlessly transitioning from DIG to Dave, although Nancy said Monday she and Dave don't have much to sell beyond “hay and some feed” as they build up their new stock. “The place is pretty much empty right now,” Nancy said, again assuring us that the business is open now and will be opener every day henceforth as Nancy and Dave pick up momentum.
DAVE SEVERN stopped by Monday. In the course of our usual rambling interface Dave said he was “seriously thinking about walking across the country.” I said I hoped he wasn't going to lug a huge peace symbol or otherwise attract hostile attention to make his adventure much more perilous than it need be, and Dave said, “No. I'm just getting old and it's something I've always wanted to do.” He's still in the thinking about it stage, but Dave is a guy who tends to do what he says he wants to do.
ROMANTICS of the local literary type will be pleased to learn that Germain-Robin is making absinthe at its Ukiah distillery. “The green fairy,” as it was called by early 20th century poets, absinthe was believed to make them crazy, or crazier, and the French drink was banned many places for many years, including by the U.S. where its importation, until a couple of years ago, was forbidden. Germain-Robin does everything right, the old fashioned way. Its brandy is simply the best booze ever although at a price that restricts its consumption to the holiday season. You can taste it and the revived absinthe at G-R's tasting room at 3001 S. State, Ukiah. Not the most beguiling location, but absinthe can make even Ukiah seem like a Paris in the spring.
THE REVISED GENERAL PLAN, which is very much like the unrevised General Plan, is now on the Planning and Building Services website.
VANDALS managed to climb above the awning of the high school gym late Monday night or early Tuesday morning to spray paint the top of the gym with apparent gang symbols. Near the door the same morons apparently sprayed a message reading “Just 4 KIKS” near the gym door. The clean-up costs will be considerable, *felony* considerable, we hope, as they come at a time when the annual school budget is shrinking with each state budget reduction.
ABOUT 7AM TUESDAY local scanners crackled with the urgent message that Mendocino County firefighters should be ready to help with lightning fires in the area of Mount Lassen. We hear at least one unit from Anderson Valley is already en route.
THE BOONVILLE BEER FESTIVAL, blown into life by Boonville Beer magnate Ken Allen in 1997 has, every year since, returned more and more cash to purely local charities, and how many communities our size can boast an annual fund-raiser as lucrative? This year, $66,500 was shared by the Lions, the PTA, Elderhome, the fire department, AV Ambulance, the Sheriff's patrol dog, Navarro River Resources, the Fairgrounds, and the Anderson Valley Land Trust, only the last being undeserving in my admittedly jaded opinion. Why? It basically exists to get tax breaks for people who don't need tax breaks for not wrecking the land they didn't plan to wreck in the first place. But Ken Allen's good works deserve high praise, and Anderson Valley would be a much poorer place without the guy.
MARVIN SCHENCK (of Navarro) will exhibit his acrylic and watercolor paintings at Scharffenberger Cellars Tasting Room in Philo (895-2957)from August 7 to September 17. Reception for the artist is Friday, August 7 from 5:30 to 7:30. The exhibit, “East Coast-West Coast,” compares two series of works: recent beach scenes from Long Island, New York, and coastal views extending from Navarro Point on the Mendocino Coast. Mr. Schenck lives in Anderson Valley and has shown extensively locally and in the Bay Area. He is also Curator of the Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah. (Mr. Schenck's paintings are highly recommended by the AVA. We like them very much, so much we want to buy one on the installment plan, if available.)
THE SKANK EYE. We all get one now and then, and journalists get more than most people. Journalists *deserve* more than most people, of course, and some are known to thrive on them, not to mention any names here. So. So I was enjoying a bacon-and-egg-hold-the-cheese sandwich the other morning at The Boonville General Store as my companions and I talked about the Satanist nonsense that gripped the more credulous sectors of Fort Bragg's otherwise sensible population in the middle-to-late 1980s. The Boonville General Store is a small place. Sound, and sometimes even meaning, reverberates. An angry-looking woman of, I'd say, early middle age, clearly upset that we were certain that Beelzebub had *not* and *never had been* operating out of a Fort Bragg daycare center because he does not exist and the *only* Fort Bragg people who said he existed back then were evil-minded, porn-drenched dope heads. Which didn't prevent official Mendocino County from dispatching cops to distant devil seminars or prevent the DA from saying she took the charges “very, very seriously,” reminders that we're never far from the tom-toms and the rattling of chicken bones over the fallen. Anyway, the angry woman bad-vibing us at the Boonville General Store, this particular devil's handmaiden, was poised to argue for The Evil One, and here it was not 8am! She circled our table, psychically murdering us in our chairs, struggling mightily to restrain herself from what even she seemed to finally realize would be an unseemly outburst in defense of a non-existent phenomenon. Fort Bragg's imaginary encounter with “the lord of the high house,” as the big red one was known in ancient times, is still considered by a few fog belt screwballs to be absolutely true, that the two innocent women these screwballs ruined and ran out of town were truly Beelzebub's gofers! The Satanist fantasy pursued by some very sick Fort Braggers is only one of 16 true crime stories, all of them from Mendocino County, all of them found in Mendocino Noir, now at your local book store or available on-line from Amazon. Anderson Valley chauvinists will want to know that Mendocino Noir also includes Boonville's poisoned sandwich episode and the cold case drunk tree murder at Navarro