“I hate all these flyers!”
Delivering a thrice-weekly community paper was our family tradition, handed down to the next younger child as each son graduated from the task. Long time residents loved to chat with the boys as they dropped off the paper. Even today, they still ask me about them.
A newspaper carrier is not unlike being a mail carrier. Not only must it be delivered through rain and sleet and snow, but also one must adhere to delivery specifics. An upcoming younger brother received a thorough training on who requested it under a rock, in the blue container or beside the umbrella stand.
Most especially, each trainee must learn whose door was always knocked on, waited at, and after saying hello, handed the paper. While a child must be 10 years old for the route, my youngest son “helped” his brothers from the age of five; he was well-trained when his turn arrived.
One day their perfect delivery buggy was stolen; there was talk of quitting. At 5 cents per paper, a community carrier is not a well-paying job. Instead, a buggy in continual repair replaced it, or in winter, a sled.
Through those deliveries, our family easily tracked the seasons. Thin standard days were replaced with thick ‘back to school’, Mother’s Day and Christmas, all requiring those hated flyers inserts, often as heavy as the paper itself.
But they received some extra rewards for those times. One person invited the lads to swim in their complex pool on a hot summer day. Many others, especially during Christmas season, offered a thrilled young lad a cookie, and a card containing money.
I silently thanked those people for recognizing my lads’ perseverance , and reinforcing my motto to them that doing any job is worth doing well.
While newspaper carriers are thought to be carrying out a minor job, no job in life is ever minor when it inherently transmits essential life-long character traits.