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As the proud owner of a poster print of Rembrandt’s “Return of the Prodigal Son” (purchased at Michael’s for the princely sum of $9.99, if I recall correctly), I was thrilled to see that the timeless art of the Old Masters is coming to St. Helena. Read on …

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The Legion of Honor is making another presentation at the St. Helena Public Library, this time on “Truth and Beauty: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Old Masters,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13. The library’s promotional material describes it thus: “In 1848 seven young Englishmen formed an artistic alliance to rebel against the contemporary Victorian art world. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood defied idealized figures popularized by Raphael and other High Renaissance artists to reflect the simplicity, spirituality, and beauty they found in late medieval and early Renaissance art. See the juxtaposition of examples by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with works that inspired its members, including Italian old masters Fra Angelico and Sandro Botticelli and their northern contemporaries, Jan van Eyck and Hans Memling.” What a feast for the eyes!

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Also at the library, Jay Greene’s historical studies turn to Ireland with the two-part “Eirinn go Brach: A Political History of Ireland” at 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Sept. 18 and 25. Jay will delve into the colorful history of the “ancient, mystical and troubled” land, accompanied by Irish music. (By the way, “Eirinn go Brach” means “Ireland Forever.”)

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Nature lovers will be excited to learn that Bothe-Napa Valley State Park is the subject of the next WILD St. Helena presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, at the St. Helena Public Library. Learn about the wild critters that roam the park from naturalist Jonny Ehlers, who leads tours, hikes and summer camps at the park and is a founder and naturalist at the Mycelium Project, which gives kids a greater appreciation of the natural world.

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Not to be outdone by all that excitement at the library, the White Barn will present a pair of one-act plays at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23. Each day will feature Barry Leason’s “The President’s Widow,” a political psychodrama, and John Sullivan’s “Driven to Distraction,” a comedy/drama about a mom and her son taking a road trip. Tickets are $25 – that’s two shows for the price of one. Buy tickets at TheWhiteBarn.org or call 987-8225.

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In academic news, hats off to Leidy Tovar Almanza of St. Helena for making the Dean’s Honor List for the spring semester at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. She earned the same honor for the fall 2017 semester. The 2015 St. Helena High grad must be one smart cookie!

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Mark your calendars, food and wine lovers. The Mondavi family and Morton’s The Steakhouse will host the Taste of Two Legends dinner on Saturday, Oct. 27, in the carriage house at Charles Krug Winery. The event will mark the steakhouse’s 40th anniversary and the 75th anniversary of the Mondavis’ family legacy in the valley. The six-course meal will be paired with wines from four generations of Mondavis, including Charles Krug by Marc and Peter Mondavi, Michael Mondavi’s Emblem and “M,” Tim Mondavi’s Continuum, and Aloft by Angelina, Alycia, Riana and Giovanna Mondavi. At $1,500 per person, it’s sure not cheap, but it’s definitely special. Get tickets at Eventbrite.

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Speaking of pocket change, one of my favorite Christmas gifts from 2016 was a battery-operated coin jar that counts my coins and keeps a digital tally of how much I’ve collected. It has a little slot that’s smart enough to tell the difference between pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. By the time it was filled to the brim, it said I had $186.83. I opened the jar, spent a few hours rolling coins, and came up with about $165 worth of rolled coins – the remainder were pennies (which I didn’t bother with) and assorted nickels, dimes and quarters that didn’t add up to full rolls. If not for that digital tally, I probably would have let those coins languish in a drawer. Instead, my bank account is $165 richer. Here’s to digital coin jars – a great Christmas gift for the coin-hoarder in your life.

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