End of…?

The turkey is smoked and carved. Maureen is close to finishing the other dishes. We will have her sister Patsy, our nephew Mike, and Marti,a very nice lady who shares a home with Patsy over for the dinner. They will arrive shortly. i am very happy with the assembly. It will be a nice day.

But there is a dark cloud hanging over me.

It has been three days since it ended.

i don’t see it returning.

i, along with Fred Russell, J.B. Leftwich, and Bill Frame are dismayed at the end of an era.

Maureen and i made a hard decision and cancelled our subscription to The San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper this past week. Our last paper was delivered Monday.

i have been reading a newspaper or two or three since my earliest days. i suspect it was around four years old when i started looking at the comics. By seven, i was actually reading them. A year or so later, i started reading the sports pages and became enrapt with Fred Russell’s column “Sidelines” on the left hand side of the Nashville Banner’s front sports page.

The Banner was the afternoon newspaper. It leaned toward the liberal Southern Democrat persuasion(if there was such a thing) . The morning paper was the Nashville Tennessean. It was of the conservative Southern Democrat persuasion. i didn’t care. i was devoted to Fred Russell, Dudley “Waxo” Green, and George Leonard. Politics were not part of my world. Again to quote Bob Seger, “i wish i didn’t know now what i didn’t know then.”

i read the Banner and the weekly Lebanon Democrat. J. Bill Frame, our neighbor was the publisher and editor of that paper until i left for the Navy.

Going away didn’t stop me from reading newspapers. In my first tour on the USS Hawkins out of Newport, RI, one of my greatest pleasures was getting the New York Times Sunday edition, eating breakfast and with the Times‘ sections spread all over the living room floor, sitting there on the rug with my coffee and spending the entire morning reading the paper.

When i went to carrying Koreans to Vietnam and back, i grabbed the Navy Times and read it cover to cover. Also, my grandmother would send me the weekly “Route 7 News” by Mrs. Wesley Thompson. i was enthralled with Mrs. Thompson’s down home news.

And then, as i was contemplating how to return to sports writing after my Navy obligation was served, one of the best guys around, John (Yanch) Johnson, offered me a job at his family’s newspaper, The Watertown Daily Times in Watertown, New York.

It was an incredible two years there. i was the understudy to Jack Case before taking over the sports editor when he retired. i was up to my neck in sports. We covered all of the local sports, college sports, introduced me to college hockey. When Jack retired, i ran a full page of photos of Jack with luminaries of the 30’s and 40’s: Lou Gehrig, Sonja Henie, Max Schmeling, and Ray Robinson — Jack gave Robinson his moniker when, after an amateur bout Jack visited the victor’s dressing room and stated, “Ray, you are as sweet as sugar.”

i was immersed in the new and old of sports journalism. The Watertown Daily Times and the Sunday New York Times were intrinsic for my living — and there was something wonderful about sitting in that upstairs apartment reading the paper with five or six feet of snow outside.

Later, there was a short period of time when i was in newspaper heaven. In the mid-1980’s, we were getting the Los Angeles Times’ San Diego edition in the morning. In the afternoon, we got the San Diego Tribune. i felt…educated.

But the LA paper for San Diego went away. The Tribune was merged with the Union and became a morning composite, The San Diego Union Tribune. Original owners died. The paper was sold. Money for the corporations or major gazillionaires used what was left for their purposes, not for newspaper journalism as i knew it. Finally, the latest sale went to a corporation, much like the latest owners of the Democrat. Minimal staff, minimum news, financial thinking i don’t understand is apparently their guideposts.

Oh yes, the cost of reading a real newspaper has gone through the roof…for not much newsprint.

So we ditched it and are using…yep, you guessed it, the cloud, for our news. To bring me some succor for such a wound, we are getting the Sunday edition of the New York Times. i am blown away, even with this as the sports section has become a separate entity. i read superb journalism, wishing i could match their knowledge, their research, and the ability to put words together.

My era of the daily newspaper is over for us. We’ll get by, but it’s been a part of our morning ritual for over thirty years: the morning paper with breakfast and coffee.

And now, i have to figure out what to use to start our evening fire in the hearth.

1 thought on “End of…?

  1. I love newspapers also..Still read the WSJ and NYT actual and several on line..Nothing like holding that paper!

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