Apparently, my question of last week has been answered. We now know what we can do with our feet on Saturday mornings.
We can put them on a chair as usual and continue reading the two
print papers from Belfast and Rockland that have been promised new life.
Don't call us old fashioned for wanting to put our feet up and read
some print newspapers, catalogs, and books. Yup, it's nice to go online
and read something about which you're concerned and hasn't yet hit
print. And, sure, we order lots of "stuff" online, buying from displayed
merchandise that magically appears on our computer screen, and books --
we love the smell and feel of books, new and old -- available online.*
Old fashioned, in my old-fashioned (maybe) opinion, is when my bus
manager and I chatted the other morning about the "good old days." These
were they days when vaporlock forced me to carry my fishing pole in my
old-fashioned 1936 Plymouth. Vaporlock would stall the car, and if I
were lucky, it was on a nice day near a good trout stream. The "good old
days" were when a flat tire actually went flat -- on the spot. You had
to play with that choke to start the beast. The "good old days" were
when I had to mail a manuscript away and wait just this side of forever
to find out that it was either rejected or purchased. In the "good old
days," I had a choice of wearing either those smelly canvas and rubber
sneakers or shoes with leather soles. Who in Maine wears leather-sold
Putting our feet up to read the paper in the morning with a cup of
coffee is very much now. It's relaxing. We can shove the paper back and
forth to show each other an article. In the evening, I can put a marker
in that print book just before I doze off on the sofa while not watching
That online buying, part of the "good now days," is nice too. A year
ago we bought a bed from Amazon.com. I wanted to shovel the snow from
the front walk so they could get to the wider front door to carry it
into the house. A UPS truck brought it, the bedframe in two identical
boxes and the mattress in a third box, which was about four feet long by
about two feet wide. We put the two halves of the bedframe, a sturdy
metal one, together and tightened the bolts to keep it together in about
five minutes. Just like it said in the directions.
Not that I ever read directions. That five-minute promise just
happened to catch my eye. My "good now days" eye, by the way. A
half-dozen years ago, I had an emergency operation with lazer and I
forget the other that saved my vision. In the "good old days," I would
have lost sight in that eye.
The mattress? We took it out of the box, cut the plastic wrapper, and
it inflated itself in a couple of hours. No, it's not a camping
mattress. It's a very nice and sturdy queen. It's so nice we have to
share it with two kitties every night. Kitties know a good mattress when
they lie on it.
We buy our food supplements online at a price about half offered at a
local store that sells them. They arrive in our shed via UPS three days
after we order them. Try(ied) that in the "good old days."
Online also allows me to write my columns without worrying about the
word count, as I had to do in the print versions of everything I ever
sold or was employed to write. In addition, online always surprises me
when readers email me about the column. What surprises me, I guess, is
that what I type on the "good now days" computer and hit the "good now
days" "send" key actually gets read. People, real people, actually turn
on their electronic gadgets and read what I write.
Who would have ever thought, in the "good old days?"
A great advantage of the "good now days" in writing by computer is
that when I find a mistake -- which happens often, I simply delete and
rewrite the word. Also "spellcheck" helps me make corrections, although
that feature of the "good now days" doesn't help me use the right word.
Did I write "their" when I should have written "there?" "Spellcheck"
doesn't help correct that.
The print weeklies are different than the dailies. We read the news
first in the dailies. In the weeklies, we read the news last. First we
have to look at the "Aunt Bessie" columns. It's important to know who
went where to visit relatives. It's also important to know which church
is having a bake sale or supper, not that we attend either. It's just
nice to know they're there (not "their") if we wanted to attend. It's
interesting to read an "Aunt Bessie" column about how things were in the
town of Searsmont 100 years ago. (There were no Toyotas, only horses,
in Maine known as hosses. There were a variety of types of buggies and
wagons. I read that somewhere in a print book.)
We love to browse the real-estate section to see which camp on which
lake we'll buy this week. Well, which camp we'd buy if we could buy a
camp this week. It's also fun to look at the old farmhouses for sale and
wonder how many generations of mice come with them at no extra charge.
The weekly takes us home.
Thanks, Reade Brower, for deciding to buy the Belfast and Rockland
papers' assets to keep them going for us.*** From the numbers of letters
to the editor we've seen expressing sadness that the Village Soup
papers were being discontinued and expressing gratitude that weeklies
will continue, in print and online, in those areas, I'd say Dolores and I
aren't the only ones Brower is allowing to keep our feet up, our coffee
filled, and the weekly news -- or gossip -- flowing.
Thanks, Reade. It's nice to know what we'll do with our feet on Saturday mornings.
*One thing I especially like about old books, old ones I mean from a
century or longer ago, is that their stories are based on what life "is"
like then. No pretense, no trying to redo what it was all like then.
Because then is now in those books.
**Because I was a young out-of-stater tourist who didn't know any
better, I wore leather-soled street shoes on my first climb up Katahdin.
By some miracle, I didn't break my neck, but two weeks later the soles
came off, leaving me with a lesson learned.
***I've never read the Village Soup paper about the Augusta area, but
I knew the Bar Harbor Times well and think it's too bad it won't be
there. Yes, I know the Islander is there, but it's a newer addition to
Bar Harbor and, well, it's not the Bar Harbor Times.
Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Milton M. Gross Copyright 2012