Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Sunday Paper

I began reading the newspaper when I was about six years old. Spending an hour or more on the Sunday Roanoke Times has been a tradition for me for 40 years.

When I was 13 years old, my father taught me how to drive an old Jeep so that I could go up and down our very long driveway. It kept us from having to climb the hill in winter weather and gave us a few more minutes to dress in the mornings.

It also meant I could get up and go retrieve the Sunday paper.

When I began to do this, I reveled in the joy of an untouched Sunday newspaper. Is there anything else so pristine, so full of promise, as an unopened paper? It is fat with possibility; the ads crisp and waiting to reveal their surprises of treasures one may have if the price is right.

It wasn't long, though, before my father realized he was now reading the newspaper after his daughter. This would never do. Apparently he too liked the clean, unwrinkled pages. Or maybe he just liked to be first.

Whatever the reason, he told me not to read the paper until after he had finished it. He paid for it, he was reading it first, was the way he put it.

But try as I might, if I rose before he did, I could not help myself. I would drive the Jeep down and retrieve the paper. And I would read it in spite of the lecture I would receive when he climbed from bed and found that I had opened it up. For no matter how careful I was, I could not put the paper back the way I found it.

Sometimes I would come back up the hill with the newspaper on the seat beside me to find him standing outside in his robe, his hand outstretched, waiting on me to hand him the newspaper. That Jeep was noisy sometimes.

At the time it seemed a game, but it was really a contest of wills. He was exerting his authority and control. I was a teenager who was not going to be controlled. Not even when it came to the newspaper.

I think of this sometimes on Sunday mornings. My husband now fetches the newspaper and he generally has it apart before he comes back in the door with it. The days when I read a clean, crisp, totally untouched Sunday paper are relatively few and far between (they happen only on the Sundays he works, which is about six times a year).

But I treasure those days when the newspaper is all mine. Oh man, do I. Because I have the newspaper in front of me, smooth and untouched, its pages folded and its advertisements still in place, the sections orderly and not thrown askew. It is a simple thing, the untouched news. A simple and unique joy.


  1. Yup...there's something special about a newspaper...especially Sunday!

  2. I thought I was the only one who liked my Sunday paper crisp and pristine! I always look forward to it and truly feel distressed when someone else opens it first and bends back the pages and wrinkles it and scatters the sections all over. I also like to be the first one to open a jar of peanut butter and dip the knife into its smooth, unsullied surface. :-)

  3. I read it first at our house. David reads his news on the internet.... all he really wants is the comics which I hand to him each Sunday morning because I don't read them... don't find many of them 'funny' like I did when I was very young. BUT, I always place the newspaper back together nicely just for that rare occasion when he does choose to read it.



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