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…except for my shoes.

That is one of my favorite lyrics, one that just turns a little key in my mind, winds me up, and sends me off with cymbals clanking. One might say I am moving in stereo, in tune with a lyric that I love to quote in my blog.  I am comfortable with it.

20150303_082024Speaking of comfortable, I am wearing new shoes today, simple but fresh and new, old style Adidas safely black, and of course they are comfortable.  A part of me wanted to take a chance with my shoe choice but I needed shoes I could wear every day.  Sensible Steve fought with the blue paisley moccasin wearing Steve from the past.  Reality sunk in, telling me that the sensible, low cost shoes were the right ones to buy.  It took four forays out shopping for sensibility to win.

I’m not a shopper.

Nor am I one who fights change in the name of comfort.  I like new things, new ideas, after all in this world we live in one needs to be able to embrace the seemingly constant rush of the latest gadget or social fad.  One must be able to sniff the winds of change in order to survive.  Or so it seems.

Yet I do not like the idea that what is comfortable must also be disposable, replaced and forgotten.  Too quickly it seems that what once a staple of existence is going away.  I fear that is what is happening to the printed word.  Books.  Newspapers.  Soon enough, non-electronic media will be nostalgia.  It’s true that vinyl is making a comeback, something I don’t necessarily care to see (or hear), although there are times when the crackle from a vinyl record is… comforting.

Saturday morning brought below zero temperatures, -11 degrees at 7 AM.  I frowned at my electronic device as I sat at the kitchen table, waiting for my dog to finish his gleeful snow roll in the back yard.  Even Nick couldn’t stand the frigid cold for long, his glistening ice covered muzzle pressed against the glass door a mere minute after I let him out.  There would be no outdoor bicycle ride.  Not even I am that nuts (if so, I am pretty sure I would be experiencing blue ones).  On top of that, I had the headache of the caffeine addict and without a fix existing in the house.  I needed my fix.

Einstein Bagels called my name.  There is a restaurant close to my house, a cozy place where I could continue the agreeable serenity of my morning.  I like their coffee, a nice compliment to a warm asiago bagel with a healthy layer of plain cream cheese slathered over it.  The place was busy with customers, a little worrisome to me, however I was able to find a table in the quietest corner of the restaurant that overlooked the parking lot.

Ahhhhhhh.

20150301_101917That table offered up a bonus — a free Chicago Tribune was spread out in its glory, a large color photo of Derrick Rose greeted me from the sports section.  The sports section, the coveted crown jewel of the newspaper.  My brothers and I used to scramble for the sports section and the comics every morning, as soon as dad released custody to us, each of us leaning over our bowl of crackling Rice Krispies to protect the paper from being desecrated by a stray drip of milk.  Ink and paper were our gold.  Our local newspaper, the Springfield (Illinois)State Journal Register, treated local news with the same reverence provided the national and world news.  In our world, aided by the newspaper, local high school and college athletes were afforded the same status as professional athletes, heroes magnified by the reports we read of them. The Saturday morning sports section was the most coveted, the day where the results of local high school Friday night basketball games were reported.  We depended on the newspaper to bring the world to us.

Dad proudly savored the editorial column written by Toby McDaniel, a family friend.  He and Mom often read Toby’s column together, their appreciation of his knowledge mingled with keen humor expressed warmly.  Reading the newspaper was a family event.  The newspaper was also a source of pride, evidenced by the numerous newspaper clippings my mother has kept in a scrapbook from track meet results I and my brothers appeared in, stories from when basketball teams we played on won a major tournament and made the paper, an announcement from my brother Mark’s piano recital, the award my brother Paul received when his short story won a newspaper contest, the picture of Mark’s home run swing that won a baseball game (such a sweet looking swing), and my proudest — a picture of me with four team mates when the Journal Register featured our track team in the sports section.  Another family friend was a staff photographer, gave us a glossy of the pictures of Mark’s hit and my track team picture.  We were heroes for a time simply because the newpaper made us so.

I enjoyed the comfortable feel of that Chicago Tribune in my hands as I sipped my coffee last Saturday morning.  Once an almost every day thing, I can’t remember the last time I have read a newspaper over breakfast.  There was a warmth to the familiarity that newspaper created, a peace, a credibility that I just don’t find on the internet.  Not any more.

Times have changed and so has the newspaper, a part of my life I hope is never replaced by this changing world.  That is ironic, really, the newspaper one of the sources of that change.  It too, has changed — smaller by necessity of economy, giving in to the electronic media that is perhaps making the paper go away.  Somehow I feel like losing the paper may also mean a part of my comfortable world has also gone away.

May that never happen.

I read the entire sports section, twice.  What a way to spend a Saturday morning.

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