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The Newspaper

The Newspaper
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle
The Newspaper
From the PorchBy Amber Nagle

It’s among my very first memories. Barefooted, I made my way down the hallway to the kitchen to find my mother — wrapped in a polyester housecoat — perched in a chair cradling a cup of coffee in her hands as she pored over the pages of The Macon Telegraph, spread before her on the countertop like a world map. Reading the news was part of her daily routine, and she wasn’t alone. In 1969, when I was about four years old, U.S. newspapers were thriving with an estimated daily circulation of 62 million. Everyone read the paper.

I began reading the funny pages (the comics) when I was about seven. Warner Robins’ The Daily Sun magically appeared on our stoop around 4 p.m., and I spread it out on the carpet to see what kind of trouble Blondie and Charlie Brown had gotten into. I loved taking a wad of Silly Putty and transferring the images onto the putty and then stretching them up and down and side to side. By the time I was a teenager, I was reading my horoscope and the Dear Abby or Ann Landers advice columns almost every day. Reading the paper made me feel smart and informed. My siblings, friends and I used old newspapers to cover our textbooks and protect them from nicks and bumps. Everyone’s textbooks were covered back then with newspapers or Piggly Wiggly sacks.

I remember seeing my Grandmother Maggie Lanier, who lived outside of Metter, standing in the middle of her kitchen and shuffling the large sheets of the newspaper to the obituary page. She read the obituary page first and read the names of the deceased out loud to anyone and everyone who’d listen.

And I wrote for the local newspaper… While I was in high school, I worked for the Houston County Recreation Department as a scorekeeper, umpire and referee. Part of that job was to write short articles about the ball games for the local newspaper, summarizing the trajectories of the games and mentioning youth who played exceptionally well that day. I poured my heart and soul into writing those sports clips and imagined thousands of people reading my words the following day. If I accidentally left a child’s name out of my small article, parents called my boss to complain. My point is this: people scrutinized every detail of the sports pages and the other sections.

The folded pages of the newspaper were once cherished companions of communities all across America — the trusted storytellers of local triumphs and tribulations.

And guess what? They still are! Where else can you find in-depth profiles about your neighbors or cousins? Where else can you find the decisions from last week’s city council or county commissioners meetings? Engagement announcements, obituaries, local job postings, grocery store specials, advertisements, crime reports, legal announcements — it’s all there, and more, in the local newspaper.

In our digital world, the landscape has shifted a bit, but I’m here to tell you that there’s still great value in buying and subscribing to your local newspaper. The digital issues are nice, but the traditional paper copies are even better! After consuming the content printed on their pages, consider these post-reading uses: Packing Material — Old newspapers can be crumpled and used in boxes to protect the fragile contents when shipping gifts or moving household items from one place to another.

Table Protectors — Spread old newspapers on the surfaces of tables to protect them from paint or glue when engaging in craft projects.

Weed Block — Layer old news- continued from page

papers in the garden underneath pine straw, bark or mulch to prevent weeds from growing and choking out flowers, vegetables or shrubs.

Window Cleaner — Old discarded newspapers are effective in removing streaks and leaving surfaces shiny when cleaning windows and glass surfaces.

Fire Kindling — Crumple old sheets of newspaper and place under layered brush piles, then ignite the paper to burn the mound.

Composting Material — Shred old newspapers and add the carbon-rich paper to compost heaps.

Recycle — Newspapers can be recycled and turned into other paper materials.

There’s nothing like the gentle rustling sound of the pages of a newspaper, and there’s nothing like staying informed with local, regional and national news — with the confidence of knowing that the content is factual and not contaminated with opinion (except for the opinion pages, of course). I encourage you all to move forward into 2024 and rediscover the timeless pleasure of newsprint — an enduring tradition that marries the past, the present and the unfolding stories of tomorrow.

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