Our small, local newspaper has begun printing a Sunday paper. Technically it’s the Friday edition, since this particular newspaper is infamous for printing things two days late, but the paper comes on Sunday, it has a plethora of ads, and it is spread out in pieces all around my house, and so by definition, it’s a Sunday paper.
I have great memories of Sunday papers from childhood. When I was 6, my two favorite parts of the paper were the television listings and the “funny papers”. First thing every Sunday, I would find my daddy on the couch surrounded by a paper ocean of the Indianapolis Star. Still in my flannel gown, I would crawl into his lap, and he would read me the comics, or the “funny papers”, as he called them. Beetle Bailey was his favorite, but I liked Ziggy. There was sometimes a hole in the page where my mom had clipped the Family Circus cartoon and hung it on the fridge with a ten pound metal clip magnet that would have amputated a toe if it had fallen off just right. No matter, Sunday mornings meant time with my daddy. He would read the comic strips with funny voices and sound effects, and I would sink into his Old Spice smell and giggle.
Later, when he fell asleep amidst the classifieds, I would rummage through the ink-scented sheets and find the television listings. If you are under the age of 30, you are genuinely confused right now as to what television listings are and why they would be in a newspaper. In 2014, kids don’t watch television, they stream it. Even if a kid does want to watch regular network or cable television, the “listings” are found on the screen at the push of a button. Not so in 1975. I had to put my newfound reading skills to work by finding the “Entertainment” section of the newspaper, running my inky fingers down the column until I found the current time slot, and peruse the choices. Four choices, to be exact. Channels 4,6,8, or 13. Each week, I would use a pen to circle the shows I wanted to watch, although Hee Haw trumped Mary Tyler Moore every Saturday night, and I could only watch the queen of comedy when my dad was working late. But she was circled all the same.
Today, with the pieces of the Sunday paper strewn about my own couch, I spend time with my new favorite part of the news – the coupons. I’m not an extreme couponer, but I do enjoy saving .50 or so here and there. While looking through the coupons today, I noticed a pattern. It seems as though the coupons for one product matched nicely with the coupons on the next page. Coupons for soup were next to coupons for crackers. Shampoo coupons were adjacent to coupons for hair color. Cat food coupons were next to the ad for Life-Alert buttons. And then there was this:
Coincidence? I don’t think so.
In our small town, the “Society” page isn’t exactly a celebrity filled gossip rag. The United Methodist Women held a Father’s Day luncheon. The Quilter’s Guild is holding a yard sale. Marie Pile turned 90. There will be euchre at the Eagles Lodge on Monday. Oh, and there’s a miniscule article about the first same-sex couple married in city hall last Wednesday. This article is placed squarely next to a larger article about an emergency order by the Court of Appeals which ended same-sex marriages in Indiana again on Friday. An entire half-page is devoted to the 166th Annual Shelby County Fair schedule. Marriage equality apparently means very little when there’s a Mini 4-H Frog Jumping Exhibit at 5:00 on Monday.
Even though I primarily get my news via television news programs and various Internet news sources, I can’t seem to cut my ties to my real-live newspaper. There’s a smell, a feel, and a sound to it that can’t be replaced by an electronic device. Middle age may have required me to give up bacon and syrup on Sunday mornings, but at least I still have a paper.