GREETINGS FROM ZIP CODE 04074: Swan song, happy trails


This is it for me. Swan song. Bottom of the 9th. Last hurrah. The “calorically challenged lady” has started to sing.

This is my last column for The Current. It’s been about 10 years. They’ve been good.

I hit 500 columns a while back. My mother always kept scrapbooks. I followed suit. It is big and bulky. It reminds me of the “Leaf Book” I kept in third grade at Pleasant Hill School.

That’s what it looks like. Also what it feels like. Pieces of nature I have plucked off the ground, or out of the air, or found on Higgins Beach during a walk, or maybe stopped and picked up off the old railroad tracks while biking on the Eastern Trail.

Scarborough is many, many different things today than it was, say, in 1975 when I graduated from Scarborough High School and headed north to the big campus of the University of Maine at Orono.

Scarborough has changed.

We are still a few fishermen, maybe a handful of agricultural farmers, but no more paperworkers that I know of, no door-to-door deliverers of milk bottles, and certainly no physicians routinely traveling into trailer parks, homes, mother-in-law apartments and nursing homes.

Now? We have UNUM executives, Portland lawyers, CPAs, L.L. Bean vice presidents, and bankers – oh, do we ever have bankers!

I’ve enjoyed writing the columns. I never know if anybody reads them, or if many people do. I have a rolltop desk that my father used in his small trucking company for 30 years. There is a pullout “shelf” to the left and right of the center drawer. He used to keep an envelope Scotch-taped to the right shelf, with a list of customers who owed Warren’s Express money.

I have an envelope affixed to the shelf, too. It has a hand-scrawled list of people who have stopped me over the years, and said, “Hey, I read your column!” or words to that effect. There are 14 names on the list. (There were 15 on it, but I took my mother off when she died March 24, 2009; this isn’t Cook County, Ill.; we don’t count the deceased!)

I have liked to “comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable,” as the slogan of a trial lawyers group goes. Probably the latter more than the former – too much, I suspect.

I like to poke fun at people. I like to poke fun at myself. I like to poke around at the dump of life, and see if there is anything interesting there that perhaps we have all missed heretofore.

My favorite task and columns?

About the dead. I like to honor those who have given their lives and contributions to our town. It is enjoyable to chronicle those people, and what they have done. I often imagine their relatives clipping it out and sending it to a cousin in another state with a note: “I thought you would enjoy seeing this obituary about Uncle Larry. The writer really captured him.” I have no idea if this ever happened. I just always hoped.

My least favorite task? Writing about national stuff – that any of us could write about, including people outside Scarborough.

That’s not why you hired me. You wanted Scarborough. I tried to give it to you.

Now, for me, it’s off to visit my three kids in college, scattered around New England.

I bet I’ll see some stuff worth writing about.

Oh well, thanks for letting me write.

Dan Warren is a Scarborough trial lawyer who can be reached by private Facebook message at Jones & Warren Attorneys at Law page, or by email at