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PiesMCKENZIE BRIDGE: Once again, there will be no reason for anyone to eat alone this December 25th. At the annual Christmas Day Dinner, they can sit down with up to 250 of their neighbors who will have a holiday meal sponsored by the Blue McKenzie Lions Club.
The event originated over two decades ago when  Peg and Dean Osterbuhr realized there were some people who either had lost family members or  were new to the area. Because of that, they often ate alone. The solution was a free community meal that has been held at different locations before settling at the St. Benedict’s Lodge in McKenzie Bridge.
Originally, donated turkeys were taken home to be cooked by Lions Club members. As time passed, some restaurants, like the Log Cabin Inn, would cook and slice the birds. That process was streamlined a few years ago when Bill Leve made arrangements for Food For Lane County to  do the lion’s share of food preparation.
Behind the scenes, event organizer Joe Wagner works with a volunteer crew of 57 volunteers to make sure that beside turkey, diner will also feast on ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, rolls, desserts, and beverages. In addition, a dozen or so people who are home bound will have meals delivered.

Off Beat Oregon History

Vortex stageBy Finn J.D. John
As the last weekend of August 1970 approached, many Oregonians were sort of holding their breath.
The American Legion was coming to town for its annual convention. The theme was “Victory in Vietnam.” President Richard Nixon would be there. And so would a group of particularly belligerent anti-war activists who had pointedly declined to renounce violence as a tool of protest.
Everyone seemed to be spoiling for a fight: the Legion, the activists, the Portland city police and even President Nixon.

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Gardening Tips

Mountain mahoganyBy Denise Ruttan
On your next hike, instead of puzzling over the name of that large upright shrub with tiny white flowers and small red fruits, reach for the new field guide "Shrubs to Know in Pacific Northwest Forests" to quickly identify it as the native red elderberry.

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McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.