This Just In: It's going to snow . . . possibly by Hannukah, probably by Christmas, definitely by Kwanza. That's what I get from 1996 Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanack. It says the winter ahead will come in like a lion and leave like one. Now, before you go pooh-poohing this voo-doo, remember something: The Hagerstown almanack shamed a lot of TV meteorologists by succesfully predicting the memorable mid-Atlantic storms of the winter of 1993-94. Its forecasts were so good -- predicting 14 of Maryland's 17 storms that winter -- it attracted the attention of NBC "Today Show" weatherman Willard Scott, and even Peter Jennings found room for a story on "ABC World News Tonight." So there. This winter, Marylanders should expect December to be "more severe than it has been for several years." We'll get another dose of snow in February. "We believe February will try to make up for all of last winter's deficit of snow and lack of cold temperatures." The almanack also predicts a snowstorm for mid-March. So, there it is: December for the first storm. You have three months to stock up on toilet paper.
Where it all began
Love story: They met during the war. He was a young American, she a young Sicilian. It was July 1943 and allied troops had just invaded Sicily. American soldiers were in the streets of ,, Palermo. One of them was Bob Lovett, from Baltimore. He met three sisters -- the Grupposo girls -- on a street and asked them for water. Then he asked to visit their house. "But my mother, Amelia, didn't want him to come," recalls one of the girls, Maria Concettina Grupposo. "When he came to the door, he looked through the peep hole. He looked so nice. But my mother didn't want to let him in. She stood behind the door with a broomstick behind her back." That day Bob Lovett entered the house -- and Maria Concettina's life forever. He moved on with other soldiers, but kept writing letters. "I had a priest in Palermo read them to me, and sometimes it was very embarassing," says Maria Concettina, whom everyone calls Connie. Two years later, the war ended. Bob married Connie in Naples in October 1945, then shipped out. Connie moved to the United States the following spring. They've lived in Baltimore all these years. Recently, their daughter, Norine Schiller, wrote to Italian newspapers to suggest a story about her parents. Instead, a newspaper in Milan published Norine's letter. The mayor of Palermo, Leoluca JTC Orlando, happened to read it -- and he was inspired. Now, at Orlando's direction, the city of Palermo is paying the Lovetts' way back to Sicily and throwing a big party in their honor. Norine and her husband are making the trip. So are the Lovetts' son, Robert, his wife and their two daughters. Connie and Bob will renew their weddings vows in Palermo on October 20. Is this a beautiful world, or what?
Going my way?
Carroll County invited officials from its eight municipalities to look at the future during an October seminar on planning and growth called, "The 21st Century -- Can We Go There Together?" But the county fell short on foresight. The daylong workshop conflicts with the Maryland Municipal League's fall legislative conference in Deep Creek Lake -- a must-attend three-day gathering for which many local officials have already made reservations. "Can we go to the 21st Century together? I just don't know," said Sykesville Mayor Jonathan Herman. "The county may be going there alone."
Match made for TV
Bonnie Levitt found a place for Mike Morgan's television set. The one-time Orioles pitcher left his 25-inch Sharp in Timonium some years ago and recently told Levitt, of Intro Relocation Specialist, to give it away. After the offering appeared in TJI last Friday, Levitt received more than 70 phone calls -- including one from a guy in jail and one from a guy in a halfway house. Don't worry. The TV is going to a YMCA shelter for women.
Bumpersticker spotted on the Jones Falls Expressway: "Will Pray For Papal Tickets." . . .
Have a hot one
I-yi-yi. I'm feeling still the heat from Sunday's hot sauce festival in southwest Baltimore. The hottest of the hot was a concoction of habanero-and-nothing-but-habanero. (The habanero sits atop the Scoville scale, the system that rates peppers based on capsaicin, the compound that makes chilies hot. A habanero scores 300,000 on the Scoville scale, while Tabasco peppers score only 50,000.) The nothing-but-habanero entry was by Paul Silverman -- the unanimous winner in the hottest category. Best salsa came from the kitchen of Paul Boyev; Gene Pollock came up with the best flavored salsa; Jennifer Gold and Ramish Rambissoon produced the best fruit salsa; and best heat-flavor combo came from John A. Howard-Algarin. H'oy!