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America's Oldest Blogger
Ray White, 93, a genial homespun philosopher with a passion for tomatoes
Eric Shackle (Shack)     Print Article 
  Published 2006-12-12 14:16 (KST)   
Veteran Australian journalist Eric Shackle, 87, is the world's oldest citizen reporter. Readers can find out more about him on his Web site.  <Editor's Note>
Research by OhmyNews International has revealed that Tennessee tomato grower Ray White (93) is America's oldest blogger. He is three months older than that other veteran blogger, Donald Crowdis, of Toronto, Canada, who will be 93 on Christmas Eve.

In the last three years White has written more than a thousand blog posts. He's only a year behind the world's oldest blogger, Allan Loof, of Norrkoping, Sweden, whom we discovered last week.

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OMNI sent Ray White an email, congratulating him on both his blog and his tomatoes, and asked him to confirm his age. He replied:

"You are correct. I was born on Sept. 2, 1913. I started this journal a little over three years ago, daily except Sunday. My purpose in starting it was to help others all around the world to produce a good home grown tomato."

White, a widowed father of two children, is a genial homespun philosopher who loves the simple pleasures of life. He is passionate about tomatoes and grows between 50 and 75 plants each year. He writes: "I don't sell any. I just give them to my friends and neighbors. It is a great pleasure for me to grow pretty red tomatoes and to see people smile when they see them."

White also enjoys watching the beautiful birds of the Tennessee Valley and providing them with food and water.

"It is a great joy to me to feed and water these birds on a daily basis. I have 3 hummingbird feeders and 2 bird baths, in addition to several other bird feeders and corn stands for the squirrels."

White blogs about and displays photos of whatever occurs to him: teapots, recipes, tomato-growing tips, sage advice. Something of White's friendly character can be seen in this extract from a blog post of Dec. 9, 2006.
"Good Morning.

"And I know that it is a good morning for many of you, I can just see you smiling. It's Saturday a day to rest, so if it is don't you dare move, stay in there as long as you can and rest. But if you are like me and need to be moving early come on, the Tea and Coffee will be waiting on you, and maybe a little hot Chocolate. You are always welcome at Dad's house....

"You will notice that I am still putting happy in that mood space above, well I am, last night was another good night for me, a real good and restful sleep and don't tell me that don't help. Without it I could not make it. If any of you can't sleep I hope that you will get help soon. Dad."
As you can see, Dad's Tomato Garden is a homely, friendly blog that appeals to viewers of all ages. Those who add comments to his stories invariably address him as "Dad." They're members of his Internet family.

©2006 Ray White

Catherine Hersh, on the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Community Television Web site, flagged White as the world's oldest blogger more than a year ago. In October 2005 she wrote:
"I think that title [the 'Oldest Living Blogger'] can be claimed by ... Ray White, a 92-year-old in Tennessee, publishes Dad's Tomato Garden Journal.

"There are lots of thoughts about agriculture and weather, among other topics. The print is large (and BRIGHT!), which can be a bonus to older readers. Commentators share fond memories of buying milk for 48 cents a gallon, and they seem to all call him 'Dad.' It's a feel-good blog."
But few net surfers read that message. The world's media seem to have overlooked Cathie's discovery.

And they never credited Sweden's Allan Loof, 94, with being the world's oldest blogger, until his local daily, Norrkopings Tidningar, proudly displayed on its Dec. 2 frontpage a photo and a story about him by author/photographer Hakan Pettersson.

Who is the world's oldest female blogger? She could be Millie Garfield, a lively octogenarian blogger in Portland, Massachusetts. Her bio says:
"At 81 years young, is one of the Internet's oldest bloggers... With an authentic and humorous voice, a knack for story telling and frequent updates, Millie's blog, My Mom's Blog, shows that people want to hear from someone with a story to tell."
Who said bloggers are always young?

As we wrote previously, perhaps blogging keeps us young at heart. Long live Allan Loof, Ray White, Millie Garfield -- and a happy birthday too to Donald Crowdis, almost certainly the world's second-oldest North American blogger, who'll be 93 on Christmas Eve.

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- America's Oldest Blogger by Eric Shackle (Read by Claire George) 

©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Eric Shackle

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