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Bodega Bulletin - January 2015


Bodega Bulletin - January 2015

The rain has continued through this week just as the promise of a dangerous drought littered first page headlines across California.  Town folk bustled, chipping away at chores, all the while more put upon from the effects of our most recent storm. I can’t help but wonder, was it all a little too late? I digress-something is better than nothing, 16.6 inches of water in the last 30 days.  The land accepts it just the same. 

The New Year approaches as rapidly as ever. Perhaps more than any other time of year, we find ourselves facing what has moved or fallen or transformed in our immediate surroundings.  What may be more challenging is the prospect of forward movement. Of course it’s comforting to wallow in some consistencies, yet the stagnancy is ever present when we aren’t able to put our fingers on a positive transformation in our personal life, or, less immediate, our town. Something as small as a new crosswalk gives us all something to talk about. Talk leads to gossip, leads to reaction.  Reaction in its most positive form leads to productivity.  

It’s hard to find a change within routine. Like Nick Cave says “ the game is never won, by standing in one place for too long.”  Every once in a blue moon, either by coincidence or one’s own doing, a change so minute will effect a mind just enough to act as a catalyst towards a bigger motion.

Most Tuesdays I hold myself to the routine of visiting The Last Record Store in Santa Rosa. I could, more conveniently, purchase MP3 music, (though the sound is horrible) but what possesses me to frequent this shop is the owner; a tall, lanky, fifty something year old man with a receding hairline who goes by the name of Hoyt. That, and the scrawlings of unheard artists on thin white plaques that wait patiently to open my mind.

I say this because Bodega’s beloved watering hole, Casino, is one of the last places in Sonoma County that doesn’t have a “super search” jukebox. There are 72 album options, ranging from Ween to Bonnie Raitt to The Scorpions to The Pretenders to Johnny Horton. 

About once a month the jukebox (among other machines) require maintenance and quarter collections from an older gentlemen, Stan.  I happened to be filling in on a weekday when a younger gentlemen dropped in to fill Stan’s duties. A longtime bartender had, months before, placed a CD behind the bar that held popular tracks from when hip hop first imposed itself upon the 90’s scene. “You guys should get a super search jukebox in here,” he commented as he struggled with the placement of the “new” CD into an old jukebox. I laughed and shook my head. The owner did, in fact, have an internet accessible juke years back during reparation of this current one.  Most of us couldn’t wait for “old faithful’s” return.  He took a good amount longer than Stan may have, but he was determined.  I was only slightly aware of his tardiness for his next job until he pounded four numbers starting from slot 33 and slinked out the door without nearly a word.  I ran across the street as the new sounds reverberated through the main drag and smiled at the thought of this slight change in a town so quiet, despite, at the time, the abnormally beautiful weather. I’ve found it challenging, searching for a way to preserve all the greatness here while struggling to make progression. I’d like to think this challenge is a motivator.

I’ve heard so many great ideas lately that defy stagnancy. My friends Libby Irving and Charlotte Reis have filled in a few shifts at Casino to prepare dinner and breakfast. Charlotte is a passionate baker. I’ve held the honor of taste testing her experiments, which are always spot on. Libby worked for Bloomfield Farms and attended several different markets a week to sell beautiful produce. The passion behind what these women do is uncanny.

There has also been talk about a “Gong Show” in the theater room at Casino. To have the opportunity to have these spaces made available for us is quite a blessing. I have no doubt that this coming year the younger generation of Bodega can use these long standing buildings to create an echo of what the older generation created. I know we have the passion, determination, respect, and straight out love to make the best of it all. I have faith that we will continue to progress while not damaging any part of what was built before us, but instead, preserve it through utilization.  Because, yes, the CD’s are consistently new, but the jukebox is still “old school.”