Try to avoid smiling as you drive past RO Shelling Grain & Feed in Petaluma and spy the daffodil-festooned banners out front. Good luck.
The signs are the work of Lynn Cunningham, wife of Shelling owner John "Cowboy" Cunningham. They read, "What Would Saralee Do?"
A pal of the late Saralee McClelland Kunde, Lynn is grateful for all the champion of agriculture did for the county and for her children, Rocco and Christian, whom Saralee mentored in dairy cows and vine pruning.
"We miss her terribly, as does the county," Lynn said. "It seems there is an energy missing among us."
Lynn had the banners made to celebrate Saralee Day, which is today and will be marked by an 11 a.m. mini-County Fair and lunch outside the supervisors' chambers in Santa Rosa.
The question posed by the banners there at Petaluma Boulevard North and Magnolia Avenue is a good one for us to ask now and again as we press on without our Queen of the county fair and of the daffodils.
<strong>FOR TAX DAY</strong>, Ruth Paine will be standing out front of Santa Rosa's main Post Office to share with anyone interested why she withholds a good chunk of what the IRS says she owes.
Paine, you may recall, was quite a bit in the news last November because 50 years earlier she was a close friend to Marina Oswald. Soon after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Paine was horrified to realize that houseguest Lee Harvey Oswald had hidden his rifle in her garage.
Paine also is a Quaker and member of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. For years, she has channeled Henry David Thoreau and protested America's war and war-preparation spending by subtracting the military's portion of her federal income tax.
"It's not something I recommend to others," she said, "but it helps me answer the call of my conscience."
She and some other residents of the Friends House retirement community will be outside the Post Office from 11 a.m. to noon to talk taxes and war.
<strong>HALLOWEEN</strong> is a long ways off, but not a day goes by that a high-spirited, independent film crew doesn't think about it.
Specifically, Will Simonds and his colleagues are fixated on the documentary they're making about a near magical Halloween tradition.
For the past two years, they've spent the night of ghouls and Mr. Goodbars on Santa Rosa's historic McDonald Avenue. Halloween there is like Main Street Disneyland, especially since John and Jennifer Webley have begun staging the over-the-top productions that have transformed their Mableton, or McDonald Mansion, into Jack the Ripper's London, then New Orleans, then Oz.
Simonds isn't too proud to ask fans of Halloween on McDonald Avenue to visit the Indiegogo site that welcomes contributions to fund the documentary.
To check it out, search the words "Wine Country Halloween" and either Indiegogo or Facebook.
<em>Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and firstname.lastname@example.org.</em>