Those of you who are Facebook friends have seen in the past my Sunday morning rants about my newspaper being missing. Usually there is a cat pictured with a woebegone face because she can’t follow her Charlie Brown that day. My cat hates technology and refuses to read the comics on a tablet. After all, the Sunday comics in glorious color on newsprint are what it’s all about around here.
A few weeks ago, I thought I had the problem solved when I asked the circulation department to have my carrier “throw” the paper into my front yard instead of using the white plastic tube that has been attached to my mailbox post since the early seventies. For several weeks all was good; whoever the person that was stealing the paper was, he or she would not walk into the yard to retrieve it off the ground. I guess the temptation of that fluffy paper sitting in the tube street side right at car window level was too much; a quick tap on the brakes and a fast nab and they were on their way with my paper.
But for some reason, my carrier had returned to the old habit of sticking the paper into that crusty, lichen encrusted tube. I don’t know if they have forgotten not to use the tube or if I have a new carrier. Today was the first Sunday after they reverted to using the tube and sure enough, the paper is missing again. Despite the promise of the person who handles delivery complaints in a thick Indian accent, that they would re-deliver the paper by noon, I still don’t have a paper, and my kitty does not have her Charlie Brown.
That paper tube has been part of the front yard so long that it has outlasted several mailbox posts. The sunlight has bleached off the lettering for “The State” Newspaper over time. Over the years, the lichens that adorn the bark of the nearby pine trees found that it can make itself quite at home on the white plastic. It did so quite artistically and I never had the heart to clean it off. I convinced myself that it added a rustic touch to the suburban American disaster that is my front yard. We can talk about the effects of many years of incipient drought on my grass another time.
So, shortly after noon, on my final trip to see if the paper was delivered, I carried my power drill out and sadly removed the four screws that held that venerated paper tube to the post and carried it back to my shop. I don’t have the heart to throw it away, but if the paper carrier can’t remember not to use it, I have no recourse but to force him or her to “throw” the paper instead of “tubing” it. I did inform the circulation person with the nice Indian accent that I would be removing the tube and that the carrier must “throw” it anywhere in the yard except near the street.
As I look at that paper tube on the floor, I can’t quite make myself throw it away. It has been part of my daily routine longer than several jobs that I’ve held and longer than any of the pets that live around here. The outside is pretty weather beaten but the inside, while a little dirty is quite pristine. There must be some other use for it. An idea is beginning to form; I can mount it on the wall of the shed and use it as a caddy for long handled yard tools such as hedge clippers. Yeah, that’s it! It will be inside, protected from the elements. The lichen won’t like that too much but it still has the trees. So, mister paper tube, you will still be around, rustic look and all. After all, the rest of that shed is already rustic too. Oh MY!