Too chilly inside restaurants, grocery stores

It is that time of the year once again when I have to remind myself never to leave home without my jacket or at least a light sweater. I know that winter is not about to start soon unless one thinks about how air conditioning might certainly cause one to think of the chill one gets at lower temperatures.

From out of the past, readers might remember a single-panel “comic” strip that ran roughly from about 1944 until the 1980s. Though there were several contributors (art and text) over the years, credit needs to go to artist Al Fagaly and writing by Harry Shorten. Almost invariably the panel ended with a character proclaiming: “There Oughta Be A Law” or maybe even just TOBAL!

For my case, it involves primarily restaurants and stores that even in the summer with temperatures outside approaching 100ºF, the restaurants or stores keep their thermostats at 70ºF or below.

Maybe a law that would say that as the temperature outside approaches 100ºF, the inside temperature might possibly move up to at least 72ºF or even 74ºF. Or am I just getting old?

For such restaurants with their low temperature settings, it is a race to see if I can eat fast enough that my food is still at least luke-warm when I get to it. Are they still warming the plates in the kitchen or are they under the air conditioner?

Has anyone else noticed that shoppers in the grocery store generally do not congregate for a conversation when in the dairy aisle where the temperature seems never to make it up close to 70ºF?


Forgive my abrupt change of topic, but with the outside close to 100ºF, I have continued my downsizing inside a “lightly” air-conditioned condo. I made some headway by distributing most of a coin collection in the last year or so. That meant dividing up some of the coins that maybe were worth more than face value and distributing them as equally as possible to different heirs. At least that meant not having to make a list to hold on to for purposes of a will.

Just recently, I managed to find a taker for my 30 to 40 books (mostly hardback and some printed in the 19th century) related to the American West and quite a few of those about George Armstrong Custer. For this task I was interested in getting the books to someone who might enjoy them.

Other books have found their way to various individuals and if unsure and with some hope that someone might find something they like, I have awarded custody to the Thrift Shop. I suppose if they don’t find an owner there that they will make it to some sort of recycling bin.

What I call “coffee” table books are a separate problem. Generally they are not just for casual reading and also they tend to have lots of pictures. But I have but one coffee table, so why did I end up with about a dozen of those very large size books that are also quite heavy?

Slowly I have reduced my inventory of this category by about half.

In my thinking I am getting closer to being ready to trash a fairly large (20 or more) collection of travel books related to various international travel trips from the past. They are generally worthless.

After all, Europe on $5 a day is a bit out of date when you can barely get by with $5 an hour or worse. It is hard to part with such books, but there is no way I will be consulting them in the future.


One of the collections that I had from the past, but began serious downsizing about five or more years ago was a collection of canning jars or fruit jars. I had originally collected literally thousands of such jars mostly from the three years I lived in Missouri back in the early 1960s. Virtually from early spring until late fall, I spent many hours at old farm auctions and spotted maybe one or two unusual canning jars, but in order to get the unusual jars often meant having to buy many more worthless jars just to secure the one or two I really wanted.

Though I sold a few jars to antique collectors, most of the non-collectable jars I gave away or eventually trashed, most of the trashed ones ended in one of those large bins that the trash collectors provided. I have kept a few special jars that were a bit more rare.

So what canning jars are collectible?

Basically there are quite a few standard sizes from quarter pint jars, to half pint, to pint, to quart, to half gallon and to gallon. The more common sizes are probably half pint, pint and quart jars. But size is not the only collectible variation.

Color of the glass for the jar is important. Many jars are clear, blue, bluish-green, amber, and other colors with amber being very desirable.

The embossing of the jars is also a distinguishing characteristic. One popular embossing seems to have been “Mason’s Patent Nov. 30th 1858” which did not mean the jar was produced in 1858, but was a popular embossing used in the early 1900s. Of course with many manufacturer’s there were many names referring to them.

One of the largest such and best known manufacturers is Ball Brothers of Muncie, Indiana, a company founded (late 1800s) by five brothers of the same family, some of whom were born in Ohio, some of whom had lived in New York, but the five brothers all eventually moved to Muncie, Indiana because of the availability of natural gas used in the manufacture of the jars. Readers may know Ball State University (I attended there a summer in 1960).

My interest in the jars, however, probably goes back to being raised by frugal parents who did a lot of canning for as long as I remember. And I have done my own share of jelly making and canning jelly in jars for quite a few years!

Until next time: Oh, Fiddlesticks!


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