05/02/05 — OPINION: Genetics!

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OPINION: Genetics!

By Gene Price
Published in News on May 2, 2005 1:45 PM

BEAUFORT -- The phone rang at the "family retreat" here. It was daughter Sue, calling from Raleigh.

"I ran into Dudley at the organic food store," she announced.

Dudley is my cousin -- one of two Price boys working as reporters for the Raleigh News & Observer. My late uncle, Woodrow, had been managing editor there many years ago.

"So what was Dudley doing at the organic food store," we yawned.

"Well, as a matter of fact, he was munching on a mouthful of free sample goodies. Like both jowls full!"

"Whatcha up to, Dudley?" Sue had asked.

Cousin Dudley, amid chewing, allowed that he was biding his time, because the lady operating one of the sample stations soon would be serving some more mighty fine little sausages. Free, of course.

It runs in the family.

For three generations -- to my knowledge -- the Price clan has been rather frugal. ("Chintzy," Publisher Hal Tanner Jr. sometimes chides me when I'm scrutinizing the "shopper's special" on a restaurant menu.)

There was the time Dudley's father, Uncle Woodrow, was working his way down the buffet line at an Eastern Press Association meeting. The offerings were lavish and tempting. But the plates were predictably small.

Woodrow paused midway the buffet line. Finally, he announced, "I think I'll pass up the potato salad. I believe it's the least expensive thing on the table."


Woodrow and wife Mary Dudley purchased their first color television with money they made picking up bottles on the roadsides on weekends.

Woodrow once told me that before he was sent to the Pacific during World War II, he made more money "bottling" than he received from the Army Air Corps."

To my incredulous, "How?" Woodrow explained:

"I put empty crates in all the barracks with a sign saying, 'Please Place Empties Here.' You'll be surprised at the number of folks who thought I worked with the Pepsi company!"