Pat Shingleton: "The Hat Wager and The Indianapolis..."
At Daly & Spraggs Drug Store in Waynesburg, PA, a customer told owner Byron Daly it would rain on July 29, 1874. Questioning how he knew, the customer responded that it always rained on his birthday – July 29th. Daly began wagering customers, not for cash but a hat. Over the last 143 years, it’s rained 115 times. Byron’s son, John, continues the tradition and the Rain Day Festival of hat-wagering continues today. John has won hats from Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Johnny Carson, Arnold Palmer Jay Leno, and Chubby Checker. Harry Anderson, of TV's Night Court, was a bettor in 1988 which was the year it didn't rain, and was sent a hat that appeared on the bookshelves behind his desk for several episodes. Another anniversary rewinds to this date in 1945, during the final days of World War II. The moon rose at 10:30 p.m. in the Philippine Sea; peeking through an overcast sky. Because of the glow, Japanese submariners targeted the silhouette of a cruiser and torpedoed it. If not for the moon glow, the USS Indianapolis would have passed unnoticed. SKY and TELESCOPE magazine predicted a repeat of this celestial scene on July 29, 2002 over the Philippine Sea, marking the 57th anniversary of the disaster. Nine hundred of the 1,200 sailors escaped the attack, only 317 survived four days of exposure and shark attacks. The USS Indianapolis was delivering components of the first atomic bomb to Tinian Island for the bombing of Hiroshima.