State’s agricultural position has changed dramatically since the 1920s.

    The state of Maine already has one slogan that might gag a resident of another state. It’s “Maine — The Way Life Should Be.”

    Coming into the state this time for a short vacation, we saw another sign, a new one to us, a little farther on: “Breathe Easier – You’re in Maine.”

    During the past winter, though, one of the toughest in terms of heavy snowfall, I imagine that even some dedicated state of Mainers would have traded their weather for a bit of Florida sunshine, or even for the weather pattern in Delaware.


    New Jersey is the only state we know of where you have no choice – a gas station employee pumps the gas. But even with this service the price is about the same as in nearby states. Small mystery.

    We stopped at the James Fenimore Cooper food and gas location but we noticed on the building itself, the name was shortened to just James Cooper. But without the Fenimore you would never guess the reference was to the famous author of “The Last of the Mohicans” and other novels.


    Ed Kee, a crops specialist and agricultural program leader for the University of Delaware, told members and guests of the Delaware Bankers Association at the Delaware State Fair last week that in 1928 there were 77 canneries in the state, with 90% of them handling tomatoes.

    Now they all are gone, which shows how rapidly the state’s agricultural position has changed. Now California is the major tomato state.

    I can remember when on the Delmarva Peninsula there was an effort by farmers to join the select group of growers able to produce 10 tons of tomatoes to the acre. But when California came along and raised 30 tons to the acre the competition was all over.

    Kee is the author of an interesting book, “Delaware Farming,” which is one of an Images of America series celebrating the history of neighborhoods, towns and cities across the country. The story of Delaware agriculture is told chiefly through photographs garnered from the Delaware State Archives and other sources.

    Kee’s book introduction mentions that agriculture remains the state’s largest industry and that privately owned farmland “still accounts for 42% of Delaware’s land area, or 540,000 acres.”

    To mention Maine again, however, I was surprised to learn that New England’s largest greenhouse grower of vine-ripened tomatoes is planning to add an 18-acre greenhouse to his operation. The cost: $20 million. All that greenhouse area in a cold state makes you wonder. Even if land is more expensive in Delaware, wouldn’t the First State be a better place for such an enterprise?


    While the trees planted in the state capital’s downtown area were decorative in the beginning, and still are, it seems to me they are simply becoming too large. They dominate the downtown and will only become bigger. Might it be a good idea to take them down now and plant new trees, choosing a variety that will attain a more reasonable height for their location?


    I’m afraid the following comment will upset some members of the healing fraternity, but my experience is that doctors’ offices are much too rife with advertising. It’s not that advertising is bad. Far from it. But when various medicines and a variety of medical products are promoted with signs and note pads and all kinds of items, the impression left with a patient is that the medical vendor so displayed enjoys the backing of the doctor.

    The various vendors who sell medical products to physicians ply them with these free things. Certainly the doctors make no commitment to the vendors because of the advertising items. But there is at least the suggestion of approval.

    One more comment as long as I am on this subject. If the onslaught of medical advertising was removed from television, don’t you think that a number of programs would just have to fold?


    Fans of the Phillies may be rabid followers of their team but at least they acknowledge there are other teams in their league. With Red Sox fans in Maine, the allegiance to their team borders on the extreme, and the only other team in their league that they pay much attention to is the New York Yankees.

    When the Yankees won the first two games of a three-game series a few days ago the anxiety about the third game was intense. Fortunately the Red Sox won. If they hadn’t the grief would have been widespread.

    Daughter-in-law Carolyn Flood acknowledges in a quiet voice she actually favors the Yankees. But she is circumspect. It’s not the sort of thing you would say out loud in a restaurant or any other public place.


    Neighbor Ruth Malago contributes the following:

    When one friend asked another the secret to his 52 years of marriage, he replied, “We never go to sleep angry.”

    “That’s a great philosophy,” the first friend said.

    “And,” the long-married friend added, “the longest we’ve been awake so far is five days…”