We picked up Mom’s groceries at Chinamart today. When we dropped them off to her at the old folk’s high rise, she gave me the Sunday paper, a tradition that’s now the better part of a year old.
I used to get the local paper myself -- for many years, in fact. Then the folks in northern West Virginia who owned it sold out to a national company. That was at a time when it had become obvious that the heyday of newspapers had passed, so the new company “combined” our two local papers into one. Whereas one had been considered a democrat paper and the other republican, the new one was supposed to be a blend, to keep everyone equally unhappy, I suppose. Instead, it was a democrat paper through and through. Finally, I dropped it through the week and just got the Sunday edition.
After a few years of that, it became so worthless to me that I even quit getting the Sunday edition. I figured why pay money for democrat propaganda, when I get it for free by watching the TV news. I noticed, too, that after a couple editor changes, my letters no longer got published. Not surprising, since most had a conservative lean, though not usually directly political. Granted, I missed the comics and the crossword puzzles, but it just wasn’t worth paying money for on a tight budget.
Then, Mom and the lady in the apartment next door began sharing the cost of the Sunday paper. When she asked me if I wanted it when she was done with it, I decided why not. The cost was finally right -- exactly what it was worth -- not one red cent. At first, I tried reading the thing, like in the days of old. Then I began just scanning the headlines, reading the comics and working the puzzle. Finally, I was down to just working the puzzle. Even the comics were just reincarnations of jokes many decades old.
Over the years, something had changed, and it wasn’t just the paper. I was a far different man than the brash, idealistic young fellow who once read those pages. Even the headlines don’t seem to change much when viewed over a perspective of six decades, let alone the basic stories. People are born, people die; corruption and greed are running rampant; the government is making constant grabs for power; the morals of the masses are in a death spiral, wars and rumors of war; the list goes on. Solomon was right; there is nothing new under the sun.
While the modern version is barely worth using to line a bird cage, there IS a related use that should be considered. In a grid-down situation, newspaper may once again come into fashion as toilet paper; just don’t try to flush it down the toilet. And so, I keep a supply on hand, in case the need ever arises.
And since I keep getting the Sunday edition, I continue working the puzzle. Even it isn’t what it used to be, though. It’s apparently made up by a much younger man than I, and a city-slicker besides. I don’t know diddly about New York theater, Hollywood trash or the newest teen heart-throb. And HE doesn’t know anything about country life, though he sometimes tries to pretend that he does and ends up making a fool of himself. Then there are those silly made-up words that he thinks are so witty and I think are so stupid.
There is ONE change which is for the better. Thirty-five years ago, I accepted Yeshua (Jesus) as my lord and savior. Knowing that He and Father Yahweh, and all my friends and relatives who have gone there before me, are waiting in heaven keeps me sane in a world gone mad described in the paper. So, no matter how much I may grump and gripe like the grouchy old curmudgeon that I am, I know that there’s a better world coming. Get your ticket, there’s a place waiting for you, too, if you’ll have it. Copyright 2018