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Smith: Forget shirts, some gambler lost his shoes

Chris Smith.

Published: Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 11, 2014 at 3:10 p.m.

Ed and Sally Jensen had the nicest outing to the Graton casino last Wednesday.

“We didn't lose any money,” Sally said. Lunch at the Daily Grill couldn't have been better.

Shortly afterward, Ed found in the way back of their SUV a large plastic bag full of men's shoes. He asked Sally what the heck they were doing there. She said he should know, as clearly he put them there.

“We had a little argument about who is losing it,” she shared.

They came to agree that someone, by accident or intent, placed the shoes in their car while they were in the casino.

Sally doubts the shoes were just dumped because they're quite nice: Golf shoes, sandals, tennis shoes, all either a size 13 or 8.5.

It makes you wonder if the owner of a similar SUV might be explaining how he went to the casino and didn't lose his shirt, but his shoes.

MEGAN'S HIGH NOTE: Having once heard 15-year-old Megan Fleischmann sing — she played young Fiona in last year's Summer Repertory Theatre production of “Shrek” — I envy all who'll be in the audience Feb. 9 at Carnegie Hall.

Megan, a freshman at Santa Rosa High, is one of the outstanding teens chosen to sing or play there in the Honors Performance Series.

Imagine being barely 15 and performing at Carnegie Hall.

A soprano, Megan will be in the Honors Choir with other fine young singers from across the country and also Canada and some international schools.

One of the songs is in Hebrew and a second in Russian, so in addition to her vigorous schedule of voice training, she's studying the languages.

Megan, who aspires to sing on Broadway and in films and on TV, will travel to Carnegie Hall with her greatest fan and mom, Tiffany.

DAD'S OLD HORN: Greg Jacobs holds a cornet, a relic that's fully playable and banged up just enough to give it character, and he marvels at the way life works.

Jacobs is the lifelong Sebastopol resident and amateur musician who served for years as the No. 2 person in the District Attorney's Office. A love of music was one of many things he shared with his dad, Jack, who began practicing dentistry in Sebastopol in 1947.

Dr. Jacobs earlier had played a cornet, a brass instrument hard to tell from a trumpet. He was a soloist in the band at Ukiah High and after graduating in 1940, he played at dance spots along the Russian River. He served patients for 37 years and died at just 63 in 1986.

Last summer, Greg Jacobs received a call from one Peggy Yolo. She told him she grew up in the Sebastopol area, lives now in Santa Rosa and wanted to tell him about something she thought would interest him.

Yolo said her brother, John Batten, was remodeling his house in Oregon and came upon a long-forgotten cornet in its original case.

Batten remembered being a kid at Analy High in 1948 and buying the horn from Dr. Jacobs. Batten had played it in the school band and decades later handed it down to his son, who played it at both Twin Hills and Analy.

Batten knew at once that the horn should go back — after 65 years — to the Jacobs family. He asked his sister still in Sonoma County to help make that happen.

So Peggy Yolo found and phoned Greg Jacobs, who was born in '48 and figures that his father sold the horn that year because he was both a new dad and a new dentist.

Yolo asked the retired prosecutor if he'd like to have his father's old cornet. Astounded by the offer, he said he certainly would.

It took a while for the horn — a Cleveland-made H.N. White “King” Master — to get down here from Oregon. But today it's back in Sebastopol. Batten and Yolo wouldn't take any money for it.

Jacobs just discovered his dad's name scratched into the small White nameplate on the case. Of course he's checked how the horn plays.

The sound, and the entire chain of events and kindness, blows him away.

(Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.)

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