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Meat-fed Trout. The brothers live as differently as they dress. George dwells (with son-in-law Sheldon Stewart) in a spacious Georgian house in Montclair, N.J., where he lives a lonely life despite the ministrations of ten servants. He amuses himself watching television (his favorite: Arthur Godfrey), listening to an electric organ played with automatic rolls, working jigsaw puzzles and tinkering with radio and TV sets. In the summer, he allows himself a suite at the ocean-side Monmouth Hotel in Spring Lake, N.J., but commutes to the office every day. He has never taken a vacation.
John, who has no children, lives like a lord of the manor in a rambling Tudor stone mansion near Valhalla, N.Y., 22 miles north of Manhattan. He sometimes cruises the paths of his 365-rolling, wooded acres in a fringe-topped surrey drawn by one of his blooded road horses. He used to play golf on his private nine-hole course with his wife, Polly, but since her death last year has given up the game. Now he keeps fit raking leaves, laying stone walks to his favorite retreat, a cozy cabin overlooking a pond. His constant helpers in these weekend stints are A & P's President Ralph W. Burger and wife Margaret. After a brisk workout at raking and stone-setting, John and the
Burgers watch television (his favorite: Sid Caesar), or toss shreds of ground meat to fat trout in the pond. "When you catch one of those meat-fed trout," he says, winking, "it tastes like lamb chops."
Termites & Pecans. Unlike George, who shrinks from meeting people and hates to travel, John loves to do both. George seldom sets foot inside an A & P, though he occasionally peers in the windows. John has been in almost every store, dropped in on 3,000 in a single year. Once he candled all the eggs in a Chicago supermarket to test their freshness.
Last week John Hartford and the Burgers dropped into a busy A & P on Main Street in New Rochelle, N.Y. Mr. John, who insists that every single item in the A & P carry a price mark, poked around looking for the tags and crayon marks. He told Manager William Smith (27 years with the A & P) a joke to put him at ease. "A fellow was stamping on prices," said John, "and I asked him how he was coming. Says he: 'Well, I got 500 cans of beans and found 700 termites. I'm having a hard time stamping the price on the necks of those termites.' "
Mr. John moved on to the produce department, became engrossed in testing the hanging-type scales, decided they ought to be replaced with the counter type. Said he: "The others look better and they're not so apt to go out of whack with all that bouncing around."
On the way out, Mrs. Burger, who had bought an armful of groceries for their lunch, said: "Mr. John, I want to tell you what happened to me at the checkout counter." Mr. John raised his arm defensively. "Margaret," he said, "don't tell me you were shortchanged! I'll cry." She had not been cheated, but a bag of pecans was so poorly marked that the checker had to look up the price. John examined the bag and allowed he would have to jog someone about those markings.