by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
It’s the time of year again when winter doldrums are consuming most of us. Puxatawny Phil is having a tough time getting out of the snow filled hole, to say nothing about seeing his shadow. So while we endure the six more weeks of winter, I am reminded of a well known bowling tradition started many years ago.
If you participate on a five player team, as most of us do, and in any given frame, four of the players get a strike, the non-striking player is known to be “stuck”, or “hanged”. Sometimes called a beer frame, the sentence for the hanged player was to purchase a round of beers for the team. As time went by, and the price of beer approached $3.00 per bottle, the sex rule was legislated, and the hanging sentence was only enforced once per night. Later, under new sentencing guideline rules, a player was only required to toss a buck or two into the team kitty after being stuck.
But very little is known about the group of settlers in Upper Brule South Dakota on the mighty Missouri River, that developed a brew of Old Ground Hog spirits to satisfy the aforementioned bowling tradition. The concoction is a secret formula of raspberry Kool Aid, Everclear, and cinnamon schnapps. You won’t find it on the top shelf of your local liquor store, or even on the bottom shelf near the Old Log Cabin or the Thunderbird. In fact, it is only sold in a brown paper bag, under the counter at 7-11 stores in Minnesota. Players who get stuck or hanged are required to deliver one case of “Old Ground Hog” to the basement of their teammates. It is forbidden to serve Old Ground Hog on the lanes during league night for fear that the ensuing din of those imbibing may approach the decibel level of a certain team at the Mermaid on Tuesday nights.
And remember, the US Postal Service will not deliver Old Ground Hog. You may use UPS to deliver it to your teammates’ basements. If Howard happens to be the UPS driver, it could be late, but it will get there eventually.
Pitchers and catchers report in two weeks. First day of Spring - six weeks. Opening Day - eight weeks. Golf courses should open in about ten weeks, although you may want to avoid bunkers filled with snow.
Best wishes for a safe and happy Groundhog Day. (The after Groundhog Day sales start early on February 3. Stock up on bargains on Groundhog cards and decorations for next year.)