I love newspapers. A favorite part of each day is to sip hazelnut coffee from my chosen mug while sifting through the morning paper. I loved the Washington Post when we lived in Virginia, but now delivery is a problem, and The Wall Street Journal is too intellectual first thing in the morning, so I stick to our local papers.
I focus on The Island Packet, the Savannah Morning News and on Wednesdays and Sundays, the reformatted Bluffton Today. The new format of The Bluffton Today is a regular-sized newspaper. So much the pity. I loved it when it was an odd sized, home-town community paper with off-beat stories and outlandish opinions. I miss that. But let me get back to my point:
Today is a prime example of the riches I find in the paper. Keep in mind today is not special, merely a regular, ordinary day which, as I have gotten older, has become my favorite kind of day. I give cursory attention to the national news and spend a bit more time with syndicated columnists. There are troubling trends in our country and I want to stay abreast of them, but, to be honest, my heart resides in the "Lowcountry Today" and "Accent" sections.
Last year I decided that I no longer like to cook, but I haven't broken my life-long habit of collecting recipes. I have two loose-leaf notebooks of favorite recipes and a drawer overflowing with additional ones. But still, the ones I cut out have potential, and I like to be prepared. Today there was a recipe for slow cooked sauerkraut and smoked sausage, an everyday dinner idea which sounded so good I plan to use it next week.
As a --er-well-um-cough-cough--senior lady, many current fashions, alas, I must pass up. But I love to look at them and then, in true senior mind-set, tsk, tsk at how risqu%C3%A8 and outlandish they are. This disguises the fact that I think they're adorable, and I remember fondly bygone days when I wore such clothes with relish. Reading fashion articles is a doorway to the past which I enjoy opening.
Photography seems to lure many who have leisure time (I'm delicately referring to we golden agers). I look forward to each day's pictures in the newspaper. It's hard to beat a photo of an alligator ringing a doorbell or a beautiful heron lifting off in flight. Many times, the pictures are so unique that I cut them out to share with my granddaughters, and sometimes with my children and friends. Recently, I showed my granddaughters a picture of a camouflaged buck resting next to a tree. I made it a "Can-you-find?"and they enjoyed the hunt.
I go into withdrawal if I miss a day of the comics. "Zits," my favorite, is a clever strip. I frequently send it to my daughter, a high school principal, who of all people can appreciate the humor and contradictions found in teenage behavior. "Baby Blues" is appropriate for my son and his wife as they raise their three children. (Did you know that the mother's name in the comic strip is Wanda?) I look for cartoons noting birthdays, commenting on marriage, referring to art, music, dance and golf. Often I gather these into albums and give as gifts when they match friends' interests or an event in their lives.
So to me, the newspaper is a one-of-a-kind adventure delivered to my driveway each morning. Too bad it's an ailing institution. I can't fathom reading it online, foregoing the pleasure of holding the real artifact. My hands won't get dirty, I can't cut out my favorite articles, and I bet my coffee won't taste as good either.
Wanda Lane lives in Sun City Hilton Head.