My mother read the newspaper from cover to cover every day. In fact she read two of them. Daddy was partial to the Lake Charles American Press, but Mother, being from Pineville, dug her heels in for a subscription to the Alexandria TownTalk. The only difference in the two papers was the local news and sometimes not even that, since the two towns were only separated by a distance of ninety-five miles and we lived slap-dab in the middle.
After moving back to Louisiana from Alaska, we received both newspapers daily. I don’t know if Mother had a thirst for knowledge or just a strong will to have her way. After all, she probably didn’t have access to a daily paper when we were on the homestead and now she was on cloud nine and making up for lost time.
Daddy skimmed through his paper in the morning with his coffee and, more often than not in his later years, an assortment of Little Debbie snack cakes.
Mothers’ reading of the newspaper was in an entirely different manner. She dissected both of those papers from cover to cover, from the obituaries to the funny pages, drinking in even the tiniest articles hidden deep inside. The first page was turned with her morning cup of coffee and it continued throughout the day – and night.
As soon as she arrived home from work in the evening another few pages were soaked in. After supper was served and the kitchen cleaned, she retired to her chair. There she continued the process in front of the tv, napping between sections. It was not uncommon to find her sitting at the counter in the kitchen at two in the morning with a snack of whatever was left over from supper and devouring more of her newspapers. This also made it hard for teanage children to sneak in past curfew.
She was a night owl and blamed her insomnia on working night duty as a nurse for so many years when we were young. We decided among ourselves that she was just nocturnal. I have no idea how she functioned at work everyday with so little sleep, but if anyone asked, she was up on the news – local and national!
The next generation had plenty of experience with the newspaper game. To my knowledge I’m the only one of five children who usually reads the paper from cover to cover as our mother did. Please correct me if I’m wrong. Only one paper per day for me though, and usually in the morning. If for some reason I don’t get to it that day or we have been out of town for a few days, I toss it, unopened, in the recycle bin. It was now old news. Mother probably turns over in her grave with each toss!
My children seldom read anything in the newspaperpaper except for the articles I occasionally snap a picture of and send in a group text. Most of their news – local and national – comes from what’s posted on their Facebook feeds.
My newspaper subscription keeps going up and up. I keep telling myself to cancel and read online. That’s not as fun, and anyway, what excuse would I have then to get up and snack in the middle of the night?