Yesterday, for the first time in 2013, our temperatures reached the 60s -- in fact, 65 degrees. The warm air blew in on strong southerly winds, making it a bit less pleasant to be outdoors, but it was, after all, 65 degrees!
I bought a flat of pansies and a couple of Hellebores to add to my front garden. This section of the yard is inside a six foot privacy fence. It blocked the wind. A bit. I extended the planting bed on the outside of the fence along the driveway in preparation for some climbing roses I ordered over the winter.
And I spread a little bit of composted chicken bedding on the garlic bed. I'd read that garlic likes nitrogen. Rain was forecast for overnight, perfect to incorporate the compost into the soil and move some food to the roots.
It felt terrific to be outside working. I slept soundly.
This morning as the sun rose, I stepped out into the front garden to peruse my work and that's when the feeling swept over me. A longing, wistful and deep. An emptiness, colored with nostalgia. A regret I could not repair.
I miss having a newspaper delivered.
There. I admitted it. I am old enough to remember when there was a morning newspaper and an evening newspaper. When a family's choice of paper shouted their political leanings to all the neighborhood. I knew boys who rose long before dawn to roll the papers, put a rubber band on them (long before plastic sleeves) and load up the saddlebags on their bicycles. They had perfected the toss to bring the paper about six feet from the front door -- no chance of breaking a window, or a loud thunk before the family woke up.
Every morning without fail, my father could open the front door and retrieve the Chicago Sun-Times (and twice a week the Park Forest Star) to enjoy with his coffee and eggs.
For the first twenty years of my adult life, I always had papers at home, nearly always delivered. In my first apartment after college, my roommates and I had a Sunday ritual. One of us was responsible for making coffee while another went down the block to the Mexican bakery to buy the Tribune and the Sun-Times, plus a selection of bakery items. We had no living room furniture, so we would spread out with pillows on the floor, surrounded by newsprint, and immerse ourselves.
Once I had an apartment of my own, my breakfast table never grew piles of other odds and ends, because I needed room to read the paper. But when I moved to Michigan I had little money for extras like newspapers when I could read them free online. Yes, I admit that, too. I took advantage of the free online versions, participating in the killing off of journalists around the world.
And now I pay to read papers online. Usually that's ok with me. It's handy to be able to access the news online anywhere. The most up-to-date information is always available; the feature sections keep me marking the days of the week. I no longer have boxes and boxes of old newspapers waiting reuse or recycling and creating a fire hazard in the meantime.
And so this morning when I stepped out onto the front porch, I wanted to see a newspaper waiting for me. I wanted to bring it into the kitchen, pour another cup of coffee and relax for the next few hours indulging in business and politics, arts and real estate. Looking at those carefully layed out pages I would discover articles I never knew would interest me -- stumbling across new ideas or interests.
But it is not to be. Here in this small town one must drive to get a paper. The gas station is the nearest source, and you can get the South Bend and the Benton Harbor/St. Joseph papers there. But no bakery goods. So today I will wait until 9 when the little store the other direction will open. They even have a limited number of New York Times. And there's a great bakery across the street.
Then I will have a croissant and the NYT Magazine.
But it's not the same.