Smith: If your home burned in the October fires, would you like a Box of Heirlooms?


There are about 50 boxes in a shed at Kate Munger’s place. She doesn’t know what’s inside any of them.

But Kate trusts that if your house burned down and you would like to have a Box of Heirlooms, one of the boxes is meant to come to you.

Gaye LeBaron wrote in Sunday’s paper about Kate and the many Threshold Choirs that sing for people who are dying, and about the boxes of personal significance that choir members from across the nation packaged for survivors of the October fires.

Gaye also wrote, by the way, that Kate is a resident of West Marin who’s 90 years old. Kate found that prescient, as she will turn that age in 22 years.

Gaye described in her Sunday column the memorable moment when Heirloom Boxes were opened by docents and staffers who work at Sonoma Valley’s Bouverie Preserve and whose homes were lost.

Here was a handmade quilt, there a Waterford champagne flute. In others boxes were an antique Amish doll, a silver ring, a beautiful little box with beach agates inside, a maroon scarf, a heart-shaped piece of rose quartz that washed up onto shore after Hurricane Katrina.

Members of Threshold Choirs placed into the boxes items that were meaningful to them, and that they wanted to pass on to people in this region whose heirlooms were consumed by the fires.

If you lost your home and would like to have a box of blessings packaged by a Threshold Choir member, email Kate at

She said, “I would really like to get them on their way.”


GOING TO D’LAND: When a fire truck passes by, take a look inside to see if anybody’s wearing souvenir Mickey Mouse ears.

Fire companies that rolled to the October firestorms have received letters from Disneyland thanking them for their service and bravery.

And what is that accompanying the letters?

Complimentary tickets to the Magic Kingdom, two for every firefighter in the station.


DON RAMATICI, the Petaluma community pillar who died Feb. 9 at 90, was exceptional at everything he did, except golf.

The insurance broker flayed at many a ball in the company of late pal Gene Benedetti, who founded Clover Stornetta Farms. Benedetti’s son and successor, Dan, recalls the story of the time Ramatici hit an especially wild drive from a tee near the road at Petaluma Golf & Country Club.

The velocity was decent, so when the ball struck the rear window of a parked and unattended Mercedes, it burst right through the glass.

Don Ramatici and Gene Benedetti strolled over to inspect the damage. “You’re going to leave a note, aren’t you?” the dairyman asked.

Ramatici said he would, but he didn’t have any paper. Use this, Benedetti said, handing him one of his Clover Stornetta business cards.

Ramatici jotted a note with a scoring pencil, then tucked the card under a wiper blade.

The next day, Benedetti received a call at work. The guy on the other end was livid.

The caller had to chill a bit for Benedetti to understand why he was so worked up. It turned out the entirety of the note on the Clover card the guy found on his damaged car was, “Keep the ball. Love, Gene.”

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and