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Hey mister, what's your story?

Do as you're told and you won't get soaked.

You're busy choosing cauliflower and carrots when you hear the request. "Please stand back. Misters are about to start."

Huh?

Gene Kelly belts out: "Singing in the rain, just singing in the rain. What a glorious feeling, I'm happy again."

As Kelly serenades, a light drizzle covers the veggies and if you ignore the warning, your hands and arms are doused. You're a victim of Kash n' Karry's vegetable misting system.

As a way to warn shoppers of incoming HO, every seven minutes Kelly sings, or a clap of thunder explodes. The fun and frolic with food is over in about 20 seconds, and if you took a few steps back, there's no water damage.

"The first time they hear it they are shocked and just stand back and watch," says Tim Mitchell, produce manager of the store at Fletcher and Florida. "They go, "Ah that's really cute,' especially old ladies. They love it."

So far, the lo-tech misting system is in 35 Kash n' Karry stores, mostly in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties but eventually all the stores will be spritzing sprouts.

"Whoever thought that up _ that was a pretty good idea," says shopper Paul Greely.

But, does the damp ditty make him dance?

"Well, I just did a little step around the corner when it came on," he says.

Young athlete came to play

TAMPA _ On your mark, get set, crawl!

After weeks of intense training, strict diets (formula, really) and constant napping, the babies were ready to race. Though the competition was fierce, it was the caravan of strollers and parade of parents with video recorders who proved to be the real obstacle course for the tiny athletes.

Saturday, as the big-time Olympic competition was under way in Atlanta, Tampa Bay babies battled it out on a carpeted 20-foot long track inside Tampa Bay Center.

For some, the Diaper Derby was easy. Their chubby knees propelled them victoriously to the waiting arms of Mom and Dad. But others needed a bribe to make it to the finish line. Parents enticed racers with everything from jingling keys to pacifiers and bananas.

Dressed in his red, white and blue Olympic-design romper, Patrick Pedraja of Oldsmar was ready to rumble.

"We have been in training," Patrick's aunt Adrienne Andrews said. She, along with Patrick's mom, Claudine Pedraja, had Patrick practicing his waddling technique a week before the games.

"He's been following his training diet. Carbo loading on rice and bread," Andrews said.

Though he raced for the gold, 14-month-old Patrick finished second in his heat.

"Our training plans failed," Pedraja said. "He was supposed to take a nap today before the race and it didn't happen."

Something for Olympic super sprinter Michael Johnson to consider: It's all in the nap.

Playing patriot games

We're red, white and blue . . . how about you? Have the summer picnics, Olympic torch bearers and basketball Dream Team made you feel a little patriotic lately? Have you felt moved to do anything All-American or buy and red, white and blue products? Let us know about it and you might be in the Monday Journal. Call Pamela Davis at 893-8355 or send a fax at 893-8673 or e-mail to pamsptimes.com.

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