In later years
Nancy, who sails, swims, skis, plays tennis and distracts football players with
consummate skill, restored herself to parental esteem by matriculating at
Stanford as an art major and getting herself pinned by the university's star
halfback and football captain.
graduation time this romance had flickered and faded into a warm friendship,
but it had served to give Nancy ("I'm rather fickle") a deep insight
into the temperaments of athletes. That is why she was so anxious to please you
sensitive fellows from The Bronx. We know she and Phyllis will take good care
of you. Her plane's larder, she tells us, will be stocked with gallons of milk
and very specially ordered extra-thick steaks.
We are sure, too,
that by now she will be able to chat knowingly about your own sport. If,
however, she proves diffident about one facet of her own past, that is
designed, too, to save your own feelings. "Unfortunately," Nancy told
us, "the only baseball player I know at all is Eddie Mathews of the Braves.
He was a Santa Barbara boy, you know."
This archer has
plenty of strings to his bow.
No wonder he's happily humming.
One string is sufficient for shooting, we know,
But the others are helpful for strumming.
The United States
Brewers Foundation was established, with a patriotic flourish, in 1862 to help
the federal government fix a tax on beer and thus help finance the Civil War.
The figure mutually arrived at was $1 a barrel. In subsequent years the tax on
beer has risen to $9 a barrel and the USBF has turned to less selfless
for instance, while preparing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of repeal, the
USBF (to quote an interoffice memorandum) "became aware that the phrase
'beer and skittles' was a teaser of more than ordinary potency." The USBF
also became aware, joyously, that a dictionary defined beer and skittles as
"unruffled enjoyment" and that in Tom Brown's Schooldays a scrupulous
reader will find this immortal teaser: "Life isn't all beer and skittles;
but beer and skittles must form a good part of every Englishman's
education." The USBF, with a good thing on tap, got up a "quiet
survey" and became aware that most Americans thought skittles was something
to eat. But the USBF knew better. They knew what skittles was—perhaps the
oldest formal athletic endeavor of the western world, German monks having
played it in the fourth century. The USBF forth-rightly offered $1,000 for the
best-preserved set of skittles in America and received a skillet, a scuttle, a
kettle and word of a 14-year-old Newfoundland dog which answered to the name of
Skittle, but no skittles. So they built a set and invited Sir Alan Patrick
(A.P.) Herbert, wit, author, 26 years a Member of Parliament and president of
the Black Lions Skittles Club of London, to come to America and show them what
to do with their ruddy apparatus.
And last week Sir
Alan, spare, herony, ruffled gray crest, came to the Paramus, N.J. Bowling
Center wearing a double-breasted suit, a striped polo shirt, a pair of white
sneakers and a look of unruffled enjoyment. Also on hand was Al (Lindy)
Faragalli, squat, thick, useful forearms, the American Bowling Congress
all-events champion, wearing a yellow shirt with his name on the back and a
look of benign perplexity. "The main difference between skittles and
bowling," quoth Sir Alan, who, unaccountably, shakes hands with his left
hand, "is that we throw the missile while you roll it." Sir Alan and
Lindy then repaired to a skittles alley, which is 21 feet long and has nine
hornbeam pins or skittles, looking much like small bombs, set on a
diamond-shaped platform, to have a throw at it. Sir Alan hefted the missile,
which is called a "cheese," looks like an inflated discus, is made of
lignum vitae and weighs some 12 or 14 pounds, and flung it sidearm at the
skittles, knocking several down with an appropriate clatter. Each player, Sir
Alan explained, gets five chances to floor the nine pins; the one that
accomplishes it in the least number of throws wins the "chalk," or
game. The beauty and intricacy of skittles lies in the residuary formations or
"leaves," which remain after the first and second throws unless one is
fortunate enough to throw a "floorer." Some of the more difficult
leaves, said Sir Alan, are the Married Man's Double ("Not as easy as it
looks"), the Waterloo Five ("They may fall to a single throw"),
London Bridge and Two Policemen ("This is fatal. You might get them down in
two throws") and Sam's Six. Sir Alan, who is 68 and a man of relative
inaction, and Lindy, who is 46, tied after three vigorous chalks. Lindy then
showed Sir Alan how to bowl and scored two successive strikes in the bargain.
Sir Alan, after several gallant efforts and a disaster on the order of the
America's Cup portending, knocked down nine pins with a slow but sure hook.
particularly happy to have been invited here for this occasion by the Brewers
Foundation," said Sir Alan later over a mug of beer and a pipe, "as I
myself am a very old member of the Consumer's Foundation. Alan, you know, has
always had a natural and innocent instinct to set things up and knock them
down; it builds up the body and relieves the mind. The most amazing thing I've
found about bowling is that wondrous machine you've got in back; the man who
thought up that could surely cure the common cold. We have to set up our own,
you know, and perhaps that's one reason skittles is dying. It's a languishing
game and we're not getting the younger fellows out. I don't know whether it's
the television or the fact that they don't let the ladies play. I feel that is
a regrettable error. And I must say, I'm afraid I harp on it.