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March 8, 2013     Post-Gazette
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March 8, 2013
 

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" " 2 POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 8, 2013 Page5 Simple by Girard A. Plante I know the snow shovels still stand guard on the front porch. Others lean atop slowly-but-surely melting snow banks -- daily remind- ing us of the Blizzard last month. And, perhaps, an- other winter wallop awaits us. After all, this is New England. I'm an optimist on weather issues. Ever since I lifted my first shovel full of snow at age six, I've always eased into the spring mindset upon March's arrival. Three pre- vious months of long, dark, frigid, icy, snowiness seem endless. But they always fade away to warm air and sun. Another sure sign that spring has sprung is spot- ting the iconic Wiffle Ball at the checkout line at your neighborhood market or pharmacy. The placement of the thin yellow plastic bat in front of any store is no coincidence. The warmer, sunnier, longer days we've all been pining for are here to stay. There's no turning back, you skiers! Besides, this year's record snowfall for the month of February will keep you and ski resort owners jump- ing for joy through March and maybe beyond. Wiffle Ball transports me back to those simpler days of my youth when a must- have new bat and ball re- placed the scratched up faded yellow bat from heavy use the year before. I often wonder, where did Wiffie Ball originate? The warm-weather ritual of rounding up our siblings and friends was born in 1953 in Fairfield, Connecticut. You see, inventor David N. Mullany's 12-year-old son and his friends yelled "whiff' with every strikeout. Thus, the Wiffle Ball. During my youth, I gath- ered a collection of Wiffle Ball bats that took a rest in the comer of my cellar upon football season's arrival. One large-barreled red plastic bat that I added to my collection I dubbed the 'Babe Ruth Bat' because, unlike the thin Wiffle Ball bat, you hit lots of homers with ease. Hitting home runs with the Wiffle Ball bat took prac- tice and a keen eye as the Wiffle Ball was crafted to serve up strikes aplenty. Its well-known dips, curves, and wild bounces across asphalt are legion. But my trusty Babe Ruth Bat always connected for a huge hit or homer! Some kids called it "cheating" by using anything but the thin yellow bat. Either way a plas- tic bat connects with a plas- tic ball. Anyway, I reasoned, the enjoyment was the all- important element to play- ing Wiffle Ball! A fascinating part of play- ing Wiffle Ball is its wonder- ful way to gain superb hand- eye coordination. Little League coaches encouraged playing Wiffle Ball to achieve that skill set. Whether that advice achieved its inten- tion or helped in making 'the cut' on a Little League team remains a raging debate. Wiffle Ball is still manufac- tured by the same family who invented the game. Dave Mullany is president of Wiffle Ball, Inc. Remember he's the star who tossed the Wiffle Bali's first curve in the summer of 1953. In 1990, his dad David N., who invented Wiffle Ball, died at age 82. He was born in Hatfield, Mass. Nowadays, David Jr's sons David J., and Stephen, are the company's vice presi- dents. The company's quaint factory is based in Shelton, Connecticut and employs 20 people. Do you still harbor that inner-Wiffle Ball angst after all these years? Wiffle Ball leagues abound across Massachusetts and all of New England! I searched on Google and found the following current Wiffle Ball website: www.goldenstick. com. Play ball! Nanna & Babbononno (Continued from Page 13) friend. I was told the pup's name was Tammi and was housebroken. My lady friend couldn't keep it where she lived and thought I might give it a good home. Tammi was part lecherous father and part promiscuous mother, a Heinz 57 ... a genuine mutt. Seeing Babbononno was home during the day, he and the dog became inseparable. The only problem was that Babbononno couldn't say Tammi. He called her Sammi. He couldn't say T without it becoming an S. Babbononno taught the dog to understand Italian and Mom, Dad and I taught her the same commands r ..... NWi 345 Broadway, Revere 781-286-CASH www.sellgoldmass.com -- EXTRA SPENDING MONEY-- I English. I tried an experi- ment and taught the dog to understand the same com- mands in a third language, Spanish. I told Babbononno that the dog was now a canine linguist and he assumed that I called the dog a linguini. It was sort of a breakdown in translation. After Tammi's demise, Loretta and I bought Morn a Keeshond. She was a show dog that my mother overfed and could not enter her in any shows due to the extra pounds. It stayed a family pet traveling with my folks wherever they went. After my sons John and in Michael came along we in- ST. JUDE AND ST, ANTHONY NOVENA I May the Sacred Heart of Jesus be | | adored, glorified, loved and preserved | [ throughout the world now and for- I [ | ever. Sacred Heart of Jesus pray for | | us. St. Jude, worker of miracles, pray | | for us. St. Jude, help of the hopeless, | [ | pray for us. St. Anthony, most loving | | protector and wonder worker, pray | | for us. Say this prayer 9 times a day | I and by the 8th day your prayer will be | | answered. It has never been known to | | fail. Publication must be promised. | [ | My prayers have been answered. | d I Favor received. A.I.P. I herited a beagle that my kids immediately named, Beagsley. Beagsley became part of the family and he and the kids grew up together. By the time the boys went off to college, Beagsley was get- ting old. We took care of him as best as possible, but we reached a point when every- thing was wrong with him. During August of 2007, it was time. John was home and we brought Beagsley to the vet for the last time. We stayed with him till it was all over and then headed home, all of us in tears. Since then, we haven't opted for any pets. John is back from Switzerland where he was working for a few years and wants to buy a dog. We've told him to wait until he has his own place. I have a hunch that, after my wife retires and spends more time at home, she will look for a dog to replace Beagsley. We'll see. GOD BLESS AMERICA! For events going on in Massachusetts this SPRING, check out the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism Web site at www.massvacation.com. For a complimentary Massachusetts Getaway Guide, call 1-800-447-MASS, ext. 300. North End Friends of St. Francis House Bake Sale & Flea Market The North End Friends of St. Francis House will be run- ning their annual Bake Sale and Flea Market to raise money for the St. Francis Homeless Shelter on Boylston Street in Boston. The event will be held on Friday, March 22nd from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Saturday, March 23rd from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Nazzaro Community Center, 30 North Bennet Street, North End, Boston. If you would like to donate items for the flea market, you can drop them off at the Nazzaro Center beginning Satur- day, March 16th through Thursday, March 2Pt. The Center is open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday and 7:00 am to 9:00 pm during the week. If want to donate bake goods, homemade items are much appreciated. You can drop them off Thursday, March 21 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm or early in the morning on Friday, March 22nd. They will also be having Mamma Romano's famous egg- plant, meatball and sausage sandwiches. They go fast so stop in early! If you cannot attend and would like to make a donation, you can mail a check for any amount made out to St. Francis House and mail it to Olivia Scimeca at 21 Cleveland Place, Boston, MA 02113. A great way to help out is save up your spare change and drop it off on Friday or Saturday. Spare change adds up fast! Please note that they will NOT be taking any clothes, com- puters, TV's or similar items. The North End Friends of St. Francis House thanks you in advance for your support. I Grand Opening , el,6 ra Ion w~x,.~ KFRATIN TRKATMKNT 1 Stylists 26 Parmenter Street 1 Shaida North End, Boston Kristin - Jenna " 617.726.1511 All the glory that was Rome ..... Pompei CAFF( PoN4PF I '~(L. 617-227-1562 FAY.. 617-742-7927 Bistro * Beer * Wine