Friday, August 6, 2021

A Few Cross Words about the Last Crossword

Big disappointment this month when I opened my morning paper and found a letter from the Anchorage Daily News stating that they will no longer be delivering hardcopy newspapers to the Kenai Peninsula. Bam, that’s a punch in the gut. After all these years no more newspapers in my driveway. 

This morning I walked out to the end of my driveway at Bear Lake and picked up my Anchorage newspaper for the last time. Yes, as of today the ADN will not be delivered to the Kenai Peninsula. I found it a bit ironic that I opened this last paper and saw their lead story was from Seward. Our gold medalist, Lydia Jacoby was at the top of the front page. At least that paper came to our driveways and people can save Lydia’s front-page picture. Not after today. 

ADN claims there are “circumstances beyond our control” forcing them to cease delivery on the Peninsula. Good grief, call it what it is, a business decision. No one told them they couldn’t deliver papers in Seward, Homer, Kenai. The roads aren’t closed. It’s just a business decision, which I guess I understand, but I’m still going to miss reading a hard-copy newspaper and working the New York Times crossword. 

Yeah, I’m even going to miss walking out the driveway on dark cold mornings to search for my paper in the snowbanks at the end of the drive. They didn’t offer the option of higher subscription rates. It’s just boom, they’re gone. And now people have nothing to start their fire with in the morning, nothing to crumble up and clean the glass door of the woodstove. The Seward Journal is a fine paper but it’s weekly, and there isn’t enough of it to do all the chores that newspapers do around our house: drop cloth, puppy training, tinder for your charcoal starter, packing paper, fun paper hats, and liner for pantry shelves. It’s going to take some adjustment. 

It’s not just the practical loss; I have a lot of angst mixed with this loss of paper delivery. When I was at my weakest this winter, I started my fight against cancer every morning by walking out the driveway for the paper. Somedays that was a long walk that took my breath away, and some days I didn’t feel like bundling up and tromping out through the snow, but I made it part of my treatment program. I got so I looked forward to walking that fifty yards to fetch the paper and coming back to the house for coffee, crossword, and first breakfast. 

Yeah, for fifteen-ninety-nine I can read the paper online, but really, it’s not the same, especially doing the crossword that way. And I can’t see paying them that kind of money for news I can find for free in other places. Yeah, I’ll miss some of their feature stories, and I’d have to print out the crossword somewhere else -- after I finish sulking -- but really I’m sad to see the end of a daily paper delivered to my driveway. I’m a pretty modern, techy guy but some things are hard to get used to, and this is one of them. 

On the bright side. Maybe I’ll get more writing done if I don’t have a crossword to solve every morning.