2006-11-02 / The Walrus Says

The Walrus Says

By Jim Munro

Members of Boy Scout Troop 1 trekked the

island's soggy and windy neighborhoods Saturday handing out plastic bags in the first leg of the 19th annual Scouting for Food drive.

They'll be back this Saturday starting at 9 a.m. to collect the bags after residents have had an opportunity to fill them with nonperishable food for the St. Mark food bank.

Items most needed are: canned tuna, salmon, chicken, turkey, beef stew, ham, peanut butter, canned fruit and vegetables, juices, dried fruits, canned or dried red and brown beans; evaporated or powdered milk; and carbohydrates such as pasta, oatmeal, cereal, rice, and macaroni and cheese.

Place the filled bags at curbside mailboxes or on front doorsteps that can be seen from the street.

Since 1988, the Narragansett Council has collected more than 5 million pounds of food in Rhode Island.

It's a day each year when all of us can do a good deed.

***

"You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" is only Damien Beecroft's third major play and taking on the role of Linus Van Pelt is a major accomplishment for a 7-year- old, though he hastens to note that "I'll be 8 on November 12."

He has previously appeared in the Jamestown Community Theatre's "HONK!" in which he was Malcolm the duckling, and in Fantasy Works' "The Music Man."

He has also delved into the world of MTV, taking part as a cast member in a live shooting of a video at an actual yard sale. Music was by the Life of Riley Band playing the song "When We Were Young." It can be seen at www. loronline.com.

The St. Michael's School second grader said he's having a good time as Linus. He explained that Linus is the youngest in the play but very smart. ""He knows a lot of words nobody else knows. Charlie Brown is not good at spelling or his numbers, and Linus helps him out. He loves his blanket. He carries it around with him all the time."

Damien has a solo entitled "My Blanket and Me," and a lot of lines. How's he doing with them? "I have a whole speech, almost a quarter of a page long. There's one word in there that I sometimes miss and sometimes get."

We were talking to Damien an hour of so before opening night and he was quite calm about the whole thing. He talked about his favorite hobbies, drawing and singing.

As we continued to ask him about the play, he came up with the comment that will stop any interviewer in his tracks.

"You might know more if you come to the play," he said.

"You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" closes its run at the Community Center this weekend. Performances are tomorrow night and Saturday at 7. Congratulations to all.

***

Special kudos to the enthusiastic and very talented members of the chorus for "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." They are Allie Brown, Raeshelle DeValerio, Alexa Geib, Nathan Housberg, and Sydney Pazera. You're an indispensable part of the success of the show.

***

Ninth-grader Lisa Brendlinger has been playing singles on the Providence Country Day Varsity Tennis Team and finished her season undefeated.

Her school team is also undefeated and now goes on to the state division finals. Smack'em, Lisa!

***

Last Wednesday, the Jamestown School kindergartens visited the Maple Creek Farm on North Road. Here is their report:

"The horses are small, the goats beautiful and the pheasants were gorgeous. The kids really enjoyed it. The day was beautiful. Miss Joan (owner Joan Dupee) gave everyone a treat. She sells eggs and potatoes and has a cocker spaniel that barked at us from inside the house."

Those kindergarteners do get around.

***

This from "North-Ender" in reaction to our rats item last week:

"After the second (broad-daylight) sighting of rats in the flower garden right next to my house, we started baiting. They ate box after box of bait, and we noticed that the Jamestown Hardware kept running out. Strange.

"After more sightings, we called an exterminator, who told us that the 'problem' was caused by the bridge demolition. The vibrations from the explosions caused the waterfront rats to relocate inland. We haven't seen any in a while, but there are more explosions to come. The DOT caused the 'problem.' Don't you think they should send the Pied Piper?" At least!

***

Hey good looking, whatcha got. . . .

***

Allergies go with living on an island, and according to Dr. Joshua Hatch of the Jamestown Animal Clinic our pets may be suffering along with us.

"Dogs, like people, can suffer from allergies to foods like chicken, wheat, or even preservatives. These pets have symptoms identical to pollen, mold, or dust allergies, including itching or scratching at their skin, ears, or chewing at their feet or flanks. In order to determine if your pet has a food allergy and not an environmental allergy, your veterinarian may prescribe a special diet for your pet. This diet may be homemade and consist of a limited number of ingredients new to your pet or it may be a prescription diet that is pre-made.

"It is important to be consistent with this food trial in order to better identify your pet's exact allergy issues and to better treat them in the future and avoid unnecessary or ineffective other treatments. Most pets do not have to suffer from chronic allergies and with some investigation and appropriate treatment they can win the battle against their allergies." WOOF!

***

Without a question, the best pizza in the area comes out of Boston Neck Pizza in Saunderstown.

***

Boy Scout Troop 1 had its most successful Spooktacular yet last weekend, even though Saturday night was cancelled due to dangerous weather conditions.

Maryann Toppa, who co-ordinates the annual fund-raiser, said that there were some 300 visitors who came to view the more than 200 creatively carved pumpkins on Friday night.

Winners of the pumpkin contest decided by the guests were: Best in Show, Dragon by Norma Walsh; Runner-up for Best in Show, Steve Irwin by Bruce Toppa; Scariest, Eating Your Young carved by Kathy Brownell; and Funniest, The Cow by Merrill Nelson-Lee.

Great job, it's getting bigger and spookier every year.

***

In a poser last week, Bob Kinder asked, "During the WWII musicians strike, what backup vocal group was used by Dick Haymes in place of the musicians?

We had only one reply. Charlie Masso wrote, "I think that during the musicians' strike, Dick Haymes called on his favorite trio, the Andrews Sisters, to back him up without the aid of other musicians and one tune that comes to mind is 'Wunderbar.' Remember , I said, 'I think,' which means I'm not sure.. . . ."

Sorry, Charlie, Bob says the answer is the Song Spinners.

***

Brie Berry reported on the results of her rowing in the Head of the Charles Regatta last weekend, and said the Canadians brought five of their current National Team members who are professional athletes in their country. "We were up against some very stiff competition this year and lost by about a minute. Overall, it was a great race, and a beautiful day. Since it was my first race in six years, I really am pleased with the results." Git'em next year, Brie!

***

We won't know until next Tuesday if Harrah's is coming to Rhode Island, and probably not even then.

But one island resident's father worked for the early Harrah family, and she has followed the growth of its business through the years.

Marion Pierce tells her story:

"When I first heard the name 'Harrah' it was in the 1940s, when we lived in Reno, Nevada. It was a casino next to Harold's Club, which was bigger and certainly more popular than Harrah's.

"Time passed, and we moved to Fallon as the work for my father in his upholstery trade offered more opportunities both at the Naval Air Station (now Top Gun) and the local ranching community. Many things that are now made in factories were custom made then. My dad was always busy.

"After I had grown up and left home, my parents migrated back to Reno in the '60s. Dad had a small shop and worked mostly on drapes, automobiles and furniture. Bill Harrah had started his famous automobile collection. He contracted a lot of the upholsery work to my dad and one day asked him to be a part of his restoration team and head up the upholstery department. Those cars were amazing. What an incredible museum he created. Over 200 cars.

"At one time, Bill Harrah's mother wanted a couple of parlor chairs reupholstered. Mr. Harrah (we always called him Bill) commissioned my dad to do it and when he was at Bill's home, Rancharrah, in southwestern Reno, in the foothills of the Sierras, Mrs. Harrah was showing him her rare and beautiful birds in their cages. She asked him if he could make her some birdcage covers. He said he could and brought samples of fabrics, trim, and fringe for her to choose what she wanted. Well, about 20 beautiful birdcage covers later, all different and exquisite, he resumed his auto work.

"Mr. Harrrah listened to his employees and responded to my dad's request for a custom set up work space and equipment. Every Christmas Bill closed his showroom to all but his employees for special parties, which included the show. Employees brought their families, and in all there were about 4,000 people attending during numerous shows set up for them. Everyone dressed up, as that was the dress code then. Everything was included, food, photos, entertainment, gifts. Many folks still display these photos in their homes.

"The one car I remember most in the auto collection was the huge maroon car that belonged to Shirly Temple. Dad had restored the beautiful leather-tufted upholstery and I loved to touch it. The security guards understood my attachment - the rules were 'do not touch.' After I left, the folks who cared for the collection came in and wiped my prints away. I was sad the day Mr. Harrah passed away at St. Mary's Hospital in Minnesota. He would not believe what his beginnings in Reno have turned into, the huge mega corporation it is today. The Web says there are now 85,000 employees as of 2005.

"Yes, I have seen both sides of the casino industry having lived in Nevada for many years. Stories I hear from my family and friends there are more about the addiction to gaming and how it can negatively affect many lives. Many people find employment in the casinos, which is a positive thing. Each and every voter should try to picture how voting for a casino will affect the state as a whole.

"It is a very uncertain undertaking for us all and we all bear responsibility." Thanks, Marion.

***

The full moon on Sunday is the Frosty Moon or Beaver Moon.

Exercise your birthright and responsibility and vote on Tuesday.

*** Be true!

***

Call in your stuff for this column to 423-0383 or 829-2760. You can e-mail us at jtnwalrus@ hotmail.com, or drop your items off at the Jamestown Press office.

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