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The church farewell for African-American community star, Pearl Harbor veteran and retired county hospital head housekeeper Jesse Love was all it should have been.

Jesse's caregiver, Catherine Ybarra, told the large, sad-hearted and grateful assembly at Community Baptist Church about asking him a while back what he wished to be buried in.

"My overalls," he replied with one of the world's grandest dimpled smiles.

Ybarra told him that sounded comfortable, but it wouldn't do.

Some time later, she asked, "Really, Jesse, what would you like to be buried in?"

Jesse, who was 91 and had lived in Santa Rosa since 1942, considered and then declared, "I want to go out the same way I came in!"

How very natural, very Sonoma County. But Ybarra told him that wouldn't do, either.

When scores of admirers filed past his open casket, and when an a honor escort of CHP and Santa Rosa Police officers and motorcyclists with the Patriot Guard led the hearse to Santa Rosa Memorial Park, Jesse wore the Sunday-best suit he'd have donned were the honoree anyone but he.

<strong>SOMEHOW JAY LENO</strong> caught wind of a sweet baseball moment between a Santa Rosa music teacher and his daughter, and it landed on national TV.

Andy Darrow of the Rincon Valley schools was quick and lucky at an Oakland A's game early this summer, and he snagged a ball fouled by Brandon Moss.

Darrow danced a victory dance back to his seat, then handed the ball to his jubilant 9-year-old daughter, Grace.

On "The Tonight Show," Leno contrasted that Good Dad scene with a Bad Mom moment: at another game, a player tosses a ball to a young girl, and a woman snatches it from her!

Find the Sept. 27 show on Leno's website. Andy Darrow's shining moment comes about five minutes in.

<strong>AND KPIX NEWS</strong> did a bang-up job on its "Cool School" feature on the basketball program that teacher Kristie Merritt made happen at Santa Rosa's Steele Lane School.

The report recalls how the Steele Lane boys and girls hooked up with inspirational mentors on Sonoma State's basketball team — and how that grew into Ticket to Success, which allows young athletes from several schools to go to SSU games and get fired up about college.

Kudos to Kristie Merritt. And go Vikings!

<strong>BAM MARGERA?</strong> I'm so old and square I had to Google to find out he's a pro skateboarder and a star of the "Jackass" flicks.

I studied up on Margera because he's to be married this weekend in Iceland, and his bride is Petaluma's Nicole "Nikki" Boyd. Seems they were introduced by Boyd's brother, Warren, several years back at the Phoenix Theater.

<strong>GOOD APPLES:</strong> What do you suppose all those El Molino High ag students were doing the other day in the fruit-laden old organic apple orchard across Covey Road from the school?

They picked their hearts out as part of a special day's focus on the bittersweet history of the west county's apple industry and how the 90-year-old Manzana Products processing plant has survived.

The highlight of the day, organized by retired teacher Steve Griffith and El Mo ag teacher Marilee Mazur, was filling crates with several varieties of gorgeous apples. The bounty went to the school's culinary program, to elementary schools and to the St. Vincent de Paul lunch kitchen.

The school "orchard trip" brought home some of the complexity of agriculture in Sonoma County. Sophomore Joshua Wright and his classmates learned that the historic orchard, managed by Lee Walker, will be converted to vineyard by one of their hosts for the day, Lynmar Estate.

"I like seeing the orchard," Joshua said amid the apples. "But that's the way it is."

<em>Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.</em>