News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

February 15, 2011

MS. TAKES: In praise of the newspaper carrier

TERRE HAUTE — I confess that I was greatly relieved when letters to the editor began to pour in praising newspaper carriers. I was relieved because I feared that we were hoarding the best carrier the Tribune-Star has on the payroll.

On our last move, we had given up — with no reluctance whatever — the carrier we had. He — or she? — was in the habit of driving slowly down our street with the windows down. Yes, even all kinds of weather. When s/he reached the end of the block, the return trip would serve the other side of the street: window down, backhand pitch and the newspaper landed somewhere within hiking distance. If the carrier’s wrist hit the window frame in mid fling, the paper was lucky to clear the curb.

Sometimes it hit our driveway, sometimes the front walk. Once it landed in the piracantha bush (ouch!) and sometimes we had to call downtown because we couldn’t find it. Rainy mornings were iffy. If the plastic bag skidded along the cement drive, it leaked and the paper was drenched. Those days we read the paper after it had been dried out — hanging over the kitchen chairs — by early afternoon.

Frankly, we were not spoiled or harboring unreasonable expectations.

So, our first morning in the new digs, we opened the front door and stepped out to scan the front acreage for the newspaper. We tripped over it.

Fluke, I thought. Not so. Every morning we’ve lived here, the paper is at the front door, under roof and dry. I was not expecting much when we awoke a week or so ago to ice. It had fallen during the night, so the sidewalk, the driveway and even the front lawn were like a skating rink. Yet, our newspaper was in the customary place, right at the door.

When I sleep in the front bedroom, I sometimes hear her car. I hear the door open and, then, a soft “plop” as the morning paper is dropped at our door. I know that I will be able to read the news while I drink my orange juice and sip my coffee. Ice, or no ice, it was there.

Our carrier’s name is Linda Langer and we are lucky to have her. So is the Tribune-Star. She rang our doorbell recently. Our neighbor’s papers had begun to accumulate and she wondered about continuing delivery. We gave her a phone number and heaps of praise.

We remember her when we renew our subscription and at Christmas. If I knew her birthday, I’d remember her then, too.

Thanks to all the good and reliable carriers. Good to know I am not keeping one secret in a selfish way.

Liz Ciancone is a retired

Tribune-Star education reporter. Her personal column has appeared on this page for more than 20 years. She is a resident of Terre Haute Send e-mail to opinion@tribstar.com.

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