The Daily Paper – a Town’s Most Perishable Commodity

“Keep yesterday’s?”

“Naw, toss it.”

Did the question refer to a cinnamon roll, a donut, milk left on the porch?

No, the town’s least expensive, most common and most perishable commodity is tossed out each day as the latest edition arrives, or it’s used for a multitude of lesser purposes. The daily paper ministers to and nourishes the bonds of a community. It’s a cultural institution in any vibrant center.

The voice of the churches preach on Sunday. School teachers serve weekdays about nine months a year. Young boys use to bring the newspaper to the door every day, year round and all around. Papers went to homes, hotels, the bakery shop, barber shop, saloons, hospitals, nursing homes, the court house, houseboats, houses of ill repute, the outhouse. Religiously people ate, breathed and read the paper or papers.

At the close of the day to sit in a comfy chair with a cup of hot coffee the steam mixing with cigarette smoke, chuckling over the comics, catching up on the latest sports statistics, absorbing the national news and arguing with the local news was a ritual. An intimate companion, readers were devoted to “my paper.”

Always plentiful, always the latest word, and all for only pennies newspapers impacted folks. The morning edition competed with the afternoon editorials stirring controversy, stimulating the life of the region as newspapers entertained, educated and elucidated the essential interests for an enduring community


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