It’s just too hot to write

Record Observer - - Opinion - Dan Tabler

It has been too hot to write a col­umn, but here we go again af­ter some 75-plus years!

What are we say­ing? If my math is cor­rect, it has been 76 years that we have been typ­ing some kind of a col­umn for the news­pa­per here and even over in Delaware. I started it at the age of 15. I was a ju­nior in high school and went into Glenn James, then ed­i­tor of the pa­per, and said he had all these ladies writ­ing com­mu­nity news from ev­ery town in the county, but needed a teenage col­umn. No, he said, I don’t have money for an­other col­umn. I said, that’s OK, I’ll do it for free. So we started “Dots and Dashes by Dan” for a cou­ple of years.

When Uncle Sam drafted me out of col­lege, I was for­tu­nate enough to get into pub­lic re­la­tions at Camp Lee, Va., the largest quar­ter­mas­ter camp in the na­tion, some 40,000 troops. We had a large PR of­fice and did daily news re­leases for the press, plus our own weekly called The Lee Trav­eler, named af­ter Gen­eral Lee’s horse.

Be­sides my work at the of­fice, they al­lowed me to write a weekly col­umn for the Record-Ob­server that I named “This Army Life.” Af­ter a while, I was re­ceiv­ing V-Mail (that was the type of mail the PO dept. al­lowed sol­diers to use free of charge dur­ing the war) from lo­cal guys all over the world be­cause the Record-Ob­server was send­ing the pa­per free to them when the fam­ily would give the soldier’s ad­dress to the pa­per.

When I was dis­charged, I still had a job at the Record-Ob­server and con­tin­ued my col­umn, call­ing it “This Won­der­ful Life,” but chang­ing it later to “Lookin’ Around,” us­ing my glasses as a logo in the head­ing. When I went with the Delaware State News in Dover as as­so­ciate ed­i­tor later, I wrote a col­umn for the daily called “The Mary­lan­der,” since we had an edi­tion of the pa­per that was sent over here on the Mary­land side of the Del­marva Penin­sula.

Af­ter re­turn­ing to Centreville and an­other job with the Record-Ob­server, I fi­nally de­cided it was time to re­tire from daily work, but Jan­ice Colvin, the ed­i­tor then, wanted me to con­tinue the col­umn, so we did and it is still com­ing at you on a weekly ba­sis. As long as folks tell me they en­joy read­ing it, I will keep on keepin’ on, as my dad used to say!


Did you re­ceive a note from the Good­will Fire Com­pany re­gard­ing the com­pany’s am­bu­lance plan? It is a good deal for the en­tire fam­ily liv­ing in the same house at $50 a year. I am not sure what the reg­u­lar charge is for an emer­gency run to the hos­pi­tal in the am­bu­lance, but it is a heck­uva lot more than $50.

Also, we could use a few more vol­un­teer driv­ers or care providers. If you think you can help, call 410-758-1422. You will have to leave a mes­sage, so some­one will re­turn your call. I’m the se­nior mem­ber of the com­pany now at 70 years of ser­vice, so I hope more of my reader-friends who are not mem­bers will con­sider this idea.


Those beau­ti­ful 2017 cal­en­dars are ar­riv­ing in the mail, even if you don’t ask for them.

I’m sure my reader-friends get them as we do. So far, we have re­ceived six: two came from SPCA, and one each from the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of the U.S., the World Wildlife Fund, the Na­tional Wildlife Fed­er­a­tion and Best Friends. All of them are beau­ti­ful views or great shots of an­i­mals. Of course, they all want money for their cal­en­dars.

I’m not sure how many more we will get, but I think we got a dozen last year. If any­one would like a cal­en­dar, let me know.


Let my good news­pa­per buddy, Ge­orge De­laplaine, up Fred­er­ick way, take over the rest of the col­umn as he writes a monthly news­let­ter to his friends and in­cluded this piece for Au­gust: Good Eatin’ Ahead Amer­i­can agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion of grains, meat and milk has been in­creas­ing over the past sev­eral years and is send­ing prices for a good many prod­ucts to their low­est lev­els in years.

With a short shelf life, milk has been con­verted to cheese, and ched­dar par­tic­u­larly can be kept frozen for years. While Amer­i­cans eat 36 pounds of cheese a year, there is enough in cold stor­age for ev­ery­one to eat an ex­tra three pounds to con­sume the sur­plus.

Amer­ica’s dairy farm­ers are ex­pected to pro­duce 21.4 bil­lion pounds of milk this year, the most in his­tory. The drop in dair y prices this year poses a new test for the in­dus­try, which since the 2012 Farm Bill, hasn’t had the cush­ion of U.S. gov­ern­ment stock­pil­ing prod­ucts to sup­port prices.

The ex­cess sup­ply should mean re­lief for shop­pers. Re­tail prices for cheese were down 4.3 per­cent in April from a year ear­lier, ac­cord­ing to mar­ket re­search from IIRI. USDA projects con­sumer beef prices to fall as much as 2 per­cent while pork prices could de­cline by 0.5 per­cent.

Next we’ll have to con­cen­trate on ex­er­cise to work off all the ex­tra weight.

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