I walked into the living room one Sunday evening just in time for 91-year-old Andy Rooney’s evening commentary. What caught my attention this particular evening was Andy’s comments about how reading the newspaper every morning was one of the high points of his day and he was worried. Worried because some newspapers have gone out of business and more newspapers are going to go out of business. And in his Andy Rooney way, he conjectured he didn’t think saying so was going to make them go any faster.
His words struck a chord with me. I am probably a little over half his age. I have enjoyed embracing the existence of computers knowing full well life will no longer be as it once was without them; which is not necessarily a bad thing. But, like Andy, one of the high points of my day is reading the newspaper between 6:30pm and 7:00pm every evening, and on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I don’t have it delivered. I don’t think I am hurting the newspaper companies by not having it delivered (that sounded like an Andy Rooney comment). My basis for this is, I have discovered, if I don’t get to the store before the end of the day, all the newspapers are gone. Somebody is reading the newspaper. And in my own way, I am showing great dedication and determination in my deliberately seeking out this publication.
It has become rather a ritual for me to stop and pick up the Des Moines Register at the nearest convenience store. On Saturday, it gets me out of the house for a walk first thing in the morning. On Sunday, during the morning, it is husband and wife time as the massive newspaper gets divided according to our interests and then, with complete Sunday morning abandon, it is read almost cover to cover making its way lazily to the floor but not before the words of the Jumble have been worked, dissected and playfully bantered about. “Is that really an ordinary word? I don’t think so.”
As convenient as the news is on the internet, nothing will replace my newspaper as long as there is a local newspaper in print. I can’t even pinpoint what it is about sitting down and reading the newspaper that is so alluring and satisfying. I just look forward to doing it. It is one of the high points of my day. Could it be that favorite easy chair joined with the after work snack. Or maybe it’s just the “me” time when the house is quiet. The rushing and pushing of the day is behind me and my computer shut down. No clicking or scrolling, pop-ups or moving text; no commands. It is just the news on the pages in front of me and I am the boss.
As we know, much of the time the news isn’t very good. But there are always local topics of interest; conversation starters like the one I started with a woman while I was in the store shucking Deardorff sweet corn. “Did you read the article about the Deardorff sweet corn in the paper this morning.” She had. You gotta love that Iowa sweet corn.
Me and Andy Rooney. Hopefully, we are not a part of a dying breed; the last of the local newspaper readers. I know what it is!!.~ Sitting and reading the local newspaper takes time. It is a reminder of a much slower existence; a more patient world and a more patient me. What do you think Andy?