Bob SpiwakBy Bob Spiwak

Last Sunday parking was at a premium at the Mazama Store. The annual Christmas at the Very End of the Road party and gift bazaar drew a full house, elbow room only, as holiday celebrants were treated to many free offerings from the bakery, mini-lattes, chocolates and other goodies. There were vendors of candies, cards and clothing among the attractions.

The big attraction every year is the gingerbread house made in the store’s bakery. It was constructed in a joint venture of Mandi Smith and Polly Lucy and featured a representation of the controversial “hanging hut” on Flagg Mountain that has caused enough of an uproar in the community to warrant a “Move the Hut” contingent in the area.

The gingerbread house is raffled off each year and this year’s lucky winner is Scott Johnston, who lives half a mile from the store. What he may not know is that among some people it has become his responsibility to move the actual anger-activating absurdity high above his home.

There has been a serial killer in West Boesel. Now that our pond has frozen, the ducks we have been feeding become an easy target for aerial predators, and in four days three ducks were killed and eaten on the spot. The “perp” has been identified by bird biologist Kent Woodruff as a goshawk.

After being spooked away the first couple of days, the goshawk got either hungrier or more brazen daily, to the point where I was able to get within 6 feet for a portrait.

We have quit feeding the ducks, wishing them bon voyage to a warmer place, and hope they don’t return. These are mallards and we are already apprehensive that when the wood ducks return in the spring, the evil avian will be back for more free meals.

In other news of exciting wildlife, there was a bobcat in a tree at the turnout on Highway 20 which attracted a lot of attention from motorists. We were alerted in a phone message from Amy Sweet, but by that time it was too late.  And another cat, a cougar, was seen across the road from the Greggs’ manse by daughter Tara. The big cat was in no hurry as it strolled down Dripping Springs Road toward the parking area.

Brushes with — strangers! There I was selecting my broccoli and this fellow comes up and says “Hi, how are you?” I looked up and saw a familiar face under a hat and above a large coat or jacket. I responded in kind and then stared. The face did indeed seem familiar — it looked like Dave Swensen yet it didn’t.

“Do I know you?” He responded that no, I did not. He was new to the valley and was greeting people in the grocery. He introduced himself as Bob (which I remembered), and a last name that is forgotten. He has moved here from Linden and certainly was friendly.

A very nice holiday gesture and Merry Christmas, Bob — from Bob.