Sunday, January 22, 2017

Special Delivery

I heard the loaded shopping cart come down the hall early this morning. I was on my way to swim followed by the short drive to our worship service. It was my friend, although we don't actually know each other's names. He delivers the Houston Chronicle in my apartment complex and down my hallway. Usually, I see him at about 5:45 AM but today is Sunday so he had later hours. He always gives me a newspaper when he sees me, even though I'm not a subscriber. Several months ago, I gave him one of our Honduras crosses in return and he liked it. Today, right on cue, he gave me a Sunday edition. As always, I thanked him, especially for the coupons! Truthfully, I'm not much of a paper reader anymore- it's just easier to get information on line. But I love the gentleman's generosity....... and I know the life of delivering newspapers.

I've mentioned before that our folks made us work for which I now am eternally grateful. There were jobs associated with nature- raking leaves, mowing grass, shoveling snow- that I did but those were free agent kind of money makers. The first job I had working for someone else was for the Lincoln Journal, one of the larger newspapers in Nebraska. I guess I delivered their papers for two years or so in roughly sixth and seventh grades. All the carriers, I think, were boys; I remember no girls and no grownups. I learned so much during that time frame of making sure the citizens of my hometown were well informed. Dad helped me open up a checking account to pay my monthly bill to the company. But, I only had money if I collected from the people on my route, not always an easy task. I learned how to put the paper where the home owners wanted it and how to budget my time. What ended my career in the freedom of the press game was sports, which always come after school, right when I would have been on my route. It was good while it lasted! I even found that these guys listed below had their first real jobs as paper boys, just like me! I'd say I was in pretty good company!

  • Walt Disney H. Ross Perot Bob Hope Ed Sullivan
  • Danny Thomas  John Wayne Bing Crosby Jimmy Durante
  • Dwight Eisenhower  Herbert Hoover Martin Luther King Jr
  • Harry S. Truman  Ed Sullivan  Isaac Asimov  Carl Sandburg
  • Tom Brokaw  Wayne Gretzky Jackie Robinson Dr. Norman Vincent Peale 
But there was a bleak side to my paper carrying days- Sunday morning. Monday through Saturday, the Journal was an afternoon product but on Sunday, it combined with the Lincoln Star and had to be delivered VERY early, pre dawn in the months with short days. Also, the Sunday papers were three or times larger than normal and a bear to deal with . On top of that, the routes were different and more spread out as some folks only got the Sunday paper. However, the worst thing about the Sunday paper was winter. Some mornings it was brutally cold, even sub zero,  and always dark, a terrible combination. My hands and feet ached and riding a bike laden with heavy papers in those conditions, sometimes with snow thrown in, was almost impossible. And yet, as I recall, my parents would not let me quit. They made me stick it out, even though I hated those mornings. Maybe they felt bad for me but my guess is they also knew it was not going to kill me. My work ethic was developing and I got tougher, two traits that help all of us navigate adulthood. 

Tonight, our minister, David Yasko, finished a series of lessons on the book of James. Much of the last chapter is about prayer, including Elijah praying that the rain would be stopped and it was for years. I am always blown away by James' statement that Elijah was just like us. God listened to Elijah and brought about a terrific miracle, the interruption of the weather. But he also suffered hardships and disappointments as he lived as a prophet which undoubtedly tempered him for the road ahead. Immediate deliverance from our problems may not bring about the mentality we'll need to stand in the breach as believing women and men; the Lord's time frame and ours rarely seem synchronized. Mom and Dad were great at making us fight the good fight, even though sometimes we lost a skirmish or two. And when I open that complimentary Houston Chronicle tomorrow, I'll thank the Lord for the coupons and thank Him again for my short-lived career making sure the latest world news landed safely on the porch for the good people in York, Nebraska. And that it did not become my life long career!

Applicable quote of the day, # 1:
A good newspaper is a nation talking to itself.

Applicable quote of the day, # 2:The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing, but newspapers.
Thomas Jefferson

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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