Although I cannot elevate Ralph Brandt to the lofty level of mentor, I need to count him among my heroes. Ralph was the managing editor of my hometown newspaper, the Bridgeton Evening News (BEN), when I was a schoolboy—this would have been in the fifties and into the sixties. He wrote a daily column, called The Scribbler, consisting of a couple of dozen wry observations. Sometimes the column heading was Fact and Fancy, other times, This and That.
One fact appeared periodically, the number of shopping days until Christmas—no simple calculation in the fifties in Small Town, U.S.A., since stores were not open on Sundays and holidays.
If this were 1950, there would be only 34 shopping days until Christmas and no Christmas items would be on display until the day after Thanksgiving. The Christmas shopping season has backed up over a month since those days. I predict it will continue to creep back until it reaches December 26th and in a sense it already has with the 50 percent-off sales on Christmas wrapping paper beginning on Boxing Day.
Ralph had a voice like a rock slide. I could listen to his stories for hours. I can still hear that voice.
He told me that he believed The Scribbler might be the longest running active daily column in the country.
So with a tip of the hat to The Scribbler, I begin another blog page: Bits and Pieces