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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

Oyster dredgingBy Finn J.D. John
Like most tourist-friendly destinations on the Oregon Coast, the town of Newport is well stocked with kitschy pirate gear.
Unlike most other spots, though, Newport has a real history involving pirates — specifically, oyster pirates. Most people who have heard of oyster piracy think of the stories of Jack London’s youth, when he borrowed money to buy a small sloop and went into the “business” down in San Francisco Bay. Or they may think of the long and occasionally bloody struggles between oystermen and oyster pirates in Chesapeake Bay, on the East Coast, which were still straggling on as late as the 1950s.

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Doodles By Barry McWilliams

Gardening Tips

DaffodilBy Denise Ruttan
Photo by Betsy Hartley. Daffodils bloom in early spring.
Daffodils are one of the first flowers to bloom in the early spring.
Fall is a good time to plant shrubs and trees that will cheer up western Oregon's often gloomy winter days.
"Fall is often a better time of year to plant trees and shrubs because the soil is still warm and plantings can get their roots established," said Barb Fick, a horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service.

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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.