David Shapley: He survived Yeehaw Junction


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    It was in July 1992 when a group of European fruit journalists were invited to
    stay in Florida, the then most important citrus producing state in the US. We
    were on our way from the south of the peninsula very busy interviewing citrus
    producers, scientists, traders and exporters. As a group of 12 people we were
    riding a van on the way to the Citrus Research Institute at Lake Alfred close to
    Orlando. At the crossroads of US 441 and Florida State Road 60 there were two
    attractions, which our guide from the Florida Citrus commission was keen to show
    us. The Desert Inn is a wellknown pub, which has a very frequent clientele:
    cowboys. This tough guys, always somewhat rough in their behaviour, used to
    visit the Desert Inn frequently after they had done their job. Sometimes the
    pubkeeper had to put in a new bar, as the cowboys had tried to fix it in another
    direction. We visited the Desert Inn about midday. That’s why our guide deemed
    it necessary to visit this place full of anecdotes as well as the building just
    on the other side, the shop of a taxidermist. It was not entirely clear in which
    connection these two enterprises were, however, there was a certain myth about
    these, which was quite inspiring for a flock of journalists.
    One of the European journalists was David Shapley, a tall man with the typical
    attitude of a soldier, which in fact he was serving in many countries of the
    world for Her Majesty’s army. At that time David was Editor of Fruit Trades
    Journal (FTJ), the weekly paper for the fresh fruit trade. He was very good in
    asking questions about „what would be“ or „how would you see the industry
    in…?“ The format of FTJ did not allow him to go „epic“, but his contributions
    to „his“ FTJ, lateron for „The Grocer“ and „Fruit World International“ were
    always written with his profound knowledge of the trade. David, even when he was
    embarrassed of what happened, never lost his contenance, always desperately
    trying to understand both sides. At the The Guild of Writers, of which he was a
    longstanding member, he had been in high esteem for his clearly marked opinion.
    Now I learned today that David in the age of 76, has left us quite surprisingly.
    In one of our last issues of Fruit World he published his views about the
    „German invasion“ into the UK retail trade.
    It was an honour for me to know this outstanding gentleman and to work with him.
    Because as a soldier and a journalist he avoided the nebulous words like
    „approximately“, „may be“, „could happen“, in any case explaining to readers
    what the current situation was. This and other similarities made us good friends
    and all I can say after these news is „I’ll miss him“.

    Gerhard H. Breuer
    Executive Editor
    Fruit World International

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