In an earlier column, I pointed out that my wife and I don't listen to the news on TV much anymore. Too depressing! People arguing, people protesting, politicians bickering and maligning one another, pandemic "updates" and warnings, looting and burning, stores closing, rogue nations threatening our country, homicides, drug arrests . . . and on and on. And I am sick and tired of so-called celebrities, entertainers, sports stars and news commentators trying to persuade me to think like them. Why, in God's name, should I listen to someone like Rosie O'Donnell, Michael Moore, LeBron James, Anderson Cooper and Katy Perry, just to name a few, spout off their opinion on anything? I have absolutely nothing in common with these people. They need to get a real life and keep their opinions to themselves.
I decided to go back in time and see what the "big news" was in our little town, so I checked the Darlington Herald newspaper for the headlines of yesteryear. Here are a few examples . . .
1916: GYPSIES VISIT THE TOWN . . . "A band of gypsies struck town Saturday afternoon. There were four covered wagons and the usual number of horses, dogs, and children. The women went about town wanting to tell fortunes. One little girl about six years old smoked cigarettes." (At least she didn't smoke weed or was on meth.)
1918: NEW CURFEW ORDINANCE . . . "Beginning next Monday night, the curfew bell will ring at 7:30 p.m., which means every person who is 16 years of age or under had better make tracks for home. To make things interesting for these young lawbreakers, a fine of $3.00 for each offense will be imposed." (Hmmm . . . might be a good idea for some repeat juvenile delinquents we have around now.)
1925: BANK INSTALLS BURGLAR ALARM . . . "The Darlington State Bank has installed a new device in the door of the bank vault. When the door is tampered with, it will release tear gas, which immediately blinds all who may be in the room." (At least potential burglars were warned ahead of time so they could wear gas masks.)
1927: SURPRISE MEDICINE . . . "Walter Moffitt, who has been suffering from a bad cold, went to his bathroom early in the morning to take a dose of medicine. He did not turn on the light, and mistakenly drank a mouthful of ammonia. Luckily he did not swallow any." (Maybe this could cure the COVID-19 virus!)
1929: NEW BRAND OF OIL . . . "Paul Beauchamp, local school bus driver, tried a new kind of oil in his bus Tuesday morning. After this, his motor stuck tight, and he discovered that instead of oil, he had picked up the wrong jug and poured maple syrup into his crankcase. He said he is going to put pancakes into his gas tank the next time." (Sounds to me like Aunt Jemima was up to no good.)
1929: OPERATION SUCCESSFUL . . . "Dr. Lidikay operated on Webb Branstetter's prize cow last Sunday. He removed three nails and a number of small rocks from its stomach." (Sure glad they got that stuff before it ended up in someone's steak.)
1936: HOW NOT TO SAVE MONEY . . . "Lew Burk started saving his money this summer and sacked $175 away in the top of his coal base burner. When the weather turned cold recently, his wife started the burner to warm up the house. Lew's savings went up in smoke!" (The lesson here was not to hide money from your wife.)
1936: PAUL BOOTS INJURED . . . "Paul Boots suffered injuries last Thursday when a horse fell on him. Most of the injuries were confined to his head. He is recovering at home." (Being hard-headed does come in handy at times.)
1937: DEAD AT AGE 19 . . . "Mrs. Aniel Cunningham's canary died of old age on Tuesday. He was 19 years old. He sang quite a bit before he died." (This must have been a REALLY slow news week!)
1943: FREAK EGG . . . "George Weaver's hen laid a freak egg on Tuesday. The egg measured 9 inches long and 6 1/2 inches wide, and inside was a normal egg. The egg was laid by a Rhode Island Red." (Holy Toledo! Talk about the pain of child birth . . . that poor hen should have had a Caesarean!)
1953: THE GENERAL IS DEAD . . . "General Otten is dead. He was found under a pile of lumber at Metzger Lumber Company. The General used to lie in the middle of the street, defying all traffic. His favorite pastime was to sit in a chair and watch TV at the American Legion hall. Townspeople had grown fond of the heavily furred General." (Maybe they should have mentioned that it was a CAT.)
The Herald stopped publishing a weekly newspaper in 1955. Sometimes there was just not a whole lot of news to report. Often there were articles about family visits, birthday parties, meetings of various clubs, or anything else they could come up with. There were very few articles concerning national news. No arguing. No protests. No violence . . . and no opinions from moronic celebrities. Just small town news with a touch of humor thrown in for good measure . . . Ah, yes . . . news that does not give me a headache . . . the good ol' days!

John "Butch" Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 30 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history.