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By Pamela Blaine
I’m sitting here reading the newspaper. Can you hear the sound of the paper as I turn the pages? I don’t know about you but I still like holding a real newspaper instead of scrolling on the internet. My newspaper is like a good friend that comes in my rural mailbox every week and tells me what’s happening in our community.
I know we live in a time where many small newspapers are closing up shop because electronic mail and other forms of communication seem to be taking over, yet, I think our small town newspapers are wonderful.
Our local paper may not have as many pages, as much news about other countries, or national news like big city newspapers but it has something important. It has the news about what is happening right here in the area where we live.
Just think of all the information that we get in our local newspaper. There’s something to interest everyone. We read about our local school activities, ballgames, band performances, and board meetings. We see what is happening with healthcare, law enforcement, clubs, and organizations in our area. We learn about blood drives, benefits, church activities, and new businesses.
Stores advertise what they sell, what is on sale, and what new products they have to offer our community.
We live in a time like no other with information flowing like a constant flash flood. There’s news and information on radio, television, internet sites, social media, along with tweets and text messaging. On top of that we have E-Mail and regular mail from the post office. We get a lot of junk mail that causes us to wear out the delete button on computers and open postal mail over the trash can.
Information seems to have gotten more like that old game of Gossip that we used to play as we sat in a circle and whispered a sentence in our neighbor’s ear. By the time the information reached the last person in the circle, it had changed to the point that it was hardly recognizable from the first time it was whispered.
Today information is flowing fast and furious but is it true? Many of the people I talk to are so frustrated by this problem that they are just not listening to news anymore.
When I have visitors from out of town, they pick up our local newspaper and say things like, “Wow! This is great.” When I ask what they like about it, it’s usually something about the hometown feel of the articles and stories. Where else can you read about what’s for lunch at the senior center, who got married, and who attended a birthday party?
We turn the page and there’s the listing of old time news with excerpts from the newspaper from ten, twenty, or even one hundred years ago.
I find it gratifying and amazing how our community comes together to raise money for worthy causes. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a fire department fundraising barbecue or a family experiencing a tragedy, everyone tries to help.
There are pictures and listings of anniversary celebrations and new babies that have arrived that bring us joy. As Carl Sandburg said, “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”
Another special thing about our local newspaper is how they handle obituaries. There isn’t just a short paragraph like city papers that only have room for a few words. Our newspaper has full obituaries that tell life stories. We find out things that we didn’t know about people when we read their obituary in the newspaper. We see a list of relatives as well as learning about their occupation, hobbies, military service, organizations they were a part of, and church membership. All of this is important because, after all, an obituary is usually the last thing written about someone and it’s so nice to have this remembrance in the newspaper.
There is so much more to our local newspapers. We see articles and art work by local people and we enjoy stories about our smaller towns back when they were teeming with stores and businesses. We also read about reflections on life, family, and friendship as well as humorous articles that make us laugh, and forget life’s problems for a while.
I know we can find news and even read newspapers, books, and magazines online as I often do. Yet, there’s something special about the rattling sound of shaking the newspaper open and even the scent of the paper. And that’s why I’m sitting here, reading the newspaper.