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home : insight & opinion : guest columns
December 11, 2017

11/8/2017 1:29:00 PM
Newspaper is a 'homemade' gift
For the Daily News

Fall is here, finally, and I'm struggling to find the things I like about it.

It used to be the smell of burning leaves and the pretty colors the leaves turned before lazily falling through the sunlight to pile up in the yard. But it's cold and grey and rainy as I write this, and the leaves are clumping up too wet to burn. When they do burn now, it makes it hard for me to breathe, so I close the windows when my neighbors are burning and wait for them to stop. That's usually sometime after pitchers and catchers report for spring training.

They like having a pretty green lawn without leaves lying on it, and it does look nice. It could be, however, that they are just in denial about living right next to a 10-acre wood. Between the sound of the leaf blower and the smell of the smoke, it's hard to conjure up my warm feelings about the season.

Then too, my mailbox is stuffed full of catalogues. I don't know why odd and quirky businesses think I might want something from the Vermont Country Store or Sea Lions are Us, but whatever mailing list I've gotten on for these things I'd like to be off. I don't look at them, and we do recycle, so I suppose at least they are good for something.

If I want to buy something, I go to a store that sells it and look at one. Then I talk to the guy who is trying to sell it to me, and since he and I live in the same town (if that's not true, I'm not buying it), he knows I will come speak to him again when I bring it back if it doesn't do what it was supposed to.

I don't care if he made it or not, or where he got it actually - he sold it to me here, so he can fix the sale issues here. Sometimes I see things that are marked, "do not return to the store," and I wonder if they are giving me a general warning of some sort or if they mean they want you to take it back to them, wherever "they" are, if it doesn't work. Whichever it is, it's not a problem for me because I won't buy it. I probably sound grumpy here, but it's going to get worse, so hold on. Fall is the season when I remind everyone who might show up at the same Christmas morning I do not want them to buy me anything.

I don't need another sweater I can't wear, or slipper socks. I have enough Cubs memorabilia and my Blackhawks jersey still fits as well as ever (they never really fit, you know, they're huge on purpose).

I don't need another imitation leather-bound journal to write in; I've got a dozen or so already with a few lines on a few pages. but right away they looked foolish in retrospect or dated in the light of newer information and I put them aside. You can't tear the pages out without making too much of things or I would have. I worry now that people who find them later will think I was trying to hide something and then busy themselves trying to imagine how horrible it must have been. It's no longer allowed to say it's none of their business, but I fondly recall a time when that would have been true.

There is no privacy anymore, so any hope that whatever delusional stupidity I was suffering from at some earlier date won't be discovered is out the window now. There they lay, evidence of degrading handwriting and hopeless idealism, waiting for whatever conclusion someone may make of them eventually. I'm guessing dumpster ballast.

I hear that Henry Ford is now a racist bigot, even though when I was growing up he was the hero of labor for being the first to pay his workers enough to buy the cars he was building. Now the workers want to be able to buy the cars Japan is building for them, even if they are building them here.

My wife bakes great cakes and pies and cookies for the holidays. Well, she did until I finally asked her to please stop until my bulk decides on a size I already have clothes for. As it is, I have the constant annoyance of discovering, yet again, that I can't wear the suit I bought for dress up because it's grown too small. Her hard-won talents are going to waste, which is good, because otherwise they would be going to my waist, which would be bad.

Exercise equipment is another category of things I don't need more of, come to think of it, and for the most part the only exercise I got from all of them was moving them to another location to see if I might go there and use them. I have stopped taking it to the basement, which was simply too much work.

But there is good news this fall, which I am happy to mention. We still have a daily newspaper published right here in our own home town.

It is put together by people we live with and care about, who live with and care about us. It may not sound like much to you, since you have the cable news and Facebook and all the rest, but to me it's a big deal.

Did you happen to notice that it was mentioned in testimony before our congress that Twitter and Facebook and YouTube are flooded with posts and fake news crap from Russia? No surprise there, really, since too many have given up on the idea that responsible journalism is best when served as a home-cooked meal. This is not whining about the election, but it is a swing at all of those who kept resending me fake news so I could see the "truth" for myself.

Hint: when we lose our locally published and edited newspapers, the battle against the free press in our country will be won. That's a fall I don't ever want to see.

If you don't subscribe to the Daily News here in Robinson, you should. That way at least you would have one source for news you could count on; and a place you could see things like this. Have a great fall.

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