More of the Piles, Pamphlets, Pages and Papers

Someday, in my old age, I’ll probably yearn for as much mail as I get now. I’ll miss reading all the stuff people sent to me.

Interesting stuff. Vital information. Like how to buy bread.

Yes, how to buy bread. No more squeezing the loaf. Simply learn the color codes of the little tags wrapped around the end of the loaf.

I’m told that bread is delivered fresh to the stores five days a week. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. And each day has a different color twist tie.

Monday is blue, Tuesday is green, Thursday is red, Friday is white and Saturday is yellow. The colors go alphabetically by color–blue, green, red, white, yellow–Monday through Saturday.

So for example, today being Saturday, you would want a yellow twist tie. If you chose one with a blue tie, it would be almost a week old.

I checked with my friend, the "Pickle Queen." Although she’s no longer peddling pickles, she is in the food industry, and she says it’s true. I haven’t tried it. Let me know.

Speaking of food, August means blueberries and apples, cantaloupes and peaches and beans and beets and tomatoes and almost every other vegetable you can think of. Want to pick your own? Call the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture at 1/800-Massgrown and get your copy of their Pick Your Own Farm Guide. Then, fill up your freezer. "Massachusetts Grown…And Fresher."

And better than hotdogs, I suppose. I’m told that two frankfurters have 366 calories. But who wants to take a bag of apples to a baseball game? Or a bowl of healthy oatmeal? One apple, 81 calories. That bowl of oatmeal is 145 calories. The highest thing on the chart that a State House visitor gave me? A Burger King Double Whopper with Cheese at 960.

Other information I’ve learned?

If you want a copy of the state’s Getaway Guide, it’s free. Just call 800/227-MASS and ask. But, be prepared to be disappointed. Not a thing in Westfield is listed under the Greater Springfield area.

They suggest Six Flags and the Basketball Hall of Fame. The Big E, the Nash Dinosaur Tracks, and the Springfield Quadrangle. But no Stanley Park, not even Taste of the World.

A Guide to the Pioneer Valley is also available. (Call 787-1548.) We fare a little better, with mention of the Westfield Athenaeum and Discover Westfield Children’s Museum, Westfield State, and the golf courses at East Mountain and Tekoa. There’s a lot of other information. Like travel tips (my favorite: don’t take more than you can carry).

If you travel to Boston between now and Christmas, visit the Commonwealth Museum, near the Kennedy Library. You’ll find an archaeological exhibit of artifacts collected during the so-called Big Dig. As tons of dirt were excavated, the Commonwealth Historical Commission saved the stuff they found. Everything from bottles and boots and bodkins to pottery and pewter and privies.

From The American Physical Therapy Association. You have 33 joints in each foot. Brains, muscles and bones keep you balanced. Because 1 in 4 people over the age of 65 will fall next year, or this year for that matter, they should remove clutter, loose rugs, unsecured cords, or anything else they might trip over. Turning on the light helps, too.

Teach your child gun safety. Tell them, just like Eddie Eagle does, that if they see or find a gun they should "Stop! Don’t Touch! Leave the Area! And Tell an Adult."

Need a lawyer, but can’t afford one? Try the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Dial-A-Lawyer service, promising "free help at the touch of a button." Call 617/338-0669. There’s also free help at their website,. www.massbar.org (click "public").

Mothers Against Drunk Driving isn’t happy with Massachusetts. They gave us a C-minus in a report on the response to drunk and drugged driving across the nation. We got low scores for state laws, the legislature, and fatality trends. MADD suggested increased penalties for repeat offenders, high blood alcohol content (BAC) drivers and BAC test refusals, and mandatory BAC tests for drivers in crashes.

Twelve times as many women are killed by men they knew than were killed by strangers.

Masspirg, in a warning pamphlet about credit, claims that undergraduate students with credit cards carry an average balance of $2,748. And, 78 percent of college students have credit cards.

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