One of my continuing pet peeves is the lack of a working ink pen, something most of us never think about, but something I need to concern myself with as a news reporter.

I don’t know how many times I buy ink pens only for them to falter at the most critical times, in the middle of a meeting or at a remote accident scene or fire.

It’s frustrating for me to have to scramble to find something to write with – even a pencil, as sometimes even the lead breaks leaving me stranded once again.

Is there such a thing as a “Bic Click” anymore? — you know, those relics from the 1970s that came in different colors, like the ones I used in college and beyond.

They seemed to work all of the time, and they didn’t fall apart like they seem to do now, whether the spring works itself loose inside the barrel, or they don’t work at all.

They even include pens I receive as “swag” at business openings and similar events, you know the pens with the name of the business on them.

Mind you, I’m not lobbying for a pen manufacturer to send a bunch of pens out of the blue only if I promote the company through this column or otherwise.

That won’t happen, I can promise you, but it would be nice if I could find a reliable writing instrument I can depend on through thick and thin.

Now for something completely different, spring begins on Wednesday, and combined with daylight savings time I couldn’t be happier.

After the big snow in December that ruined my annual Christmas visit to see friends in Richmond, big winter events were few and far between.

We didn’t get the frigid weather that froze the county over the winter before, nor the winds, and we were fortunate in that additional snow and ice stayed away.

As I get older, I tolerate cold and snow less and less, so last winter suited me just fine.

Now, only if the weather behaves itself the next several months.

Doug Ford reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at

Doug Ford covers news and sports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at