On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 2, 2021:

Those were some of the first words Robert Worley said to me after I walked into his office and introduced myself. Worley is the new Director of the Emory Development Corp., and I was there to interview him for the article you can read on the front page of this edition of the Leader. He went on to explain that, during his four years of high school, he worked as a printer’s devil for the Paducah Post in Paducah, Texas. This was during the days of hot metal typesetting before computers performed the task digitally, and one of his tasks was to feed pigs or ingots of lead into a vat of molten metal to keep the presses moving. Among his mementos of those years is one of the heavy metal bars along with memories of the feel of a drop of hot lead splashing onto his neck and the sound of a drop as it sizzled through the top of his shoe. Although he left the printing business after he graduated from high school, Worley has continued to find a friendly relationship with local newspapers to be invaluable in the economic development business.

Since that conversation, I’ve thought a lot about my own relationship with newspapers. My first memory of this print media is of spending Sunday mornings – after I was ready for church – lying on the floor of the living room in front of the radio with the “funny papers” spread out in front of me. I don’t know if it was a local D.J. or someone with a wider audience, but there was a man who read the comics every week.

My love affair with comics continued for most of my life. I’ve never been much of a fan of hard news, but my newspaper interests expanded to include both Dear Abby and Ann Landers and then the puzzle pages. I was in heaven when The Dallas Morning News bought the Dallas Times Herald, and the comics, advice columns, and puzzles doubled. Current events reports were never my favorites in school, but I could rock the Sunday New York Times crossword if anyone ever asked.

My brother didn’t share my interest in the entertainment sections, but he had his own newspaper interests. His first connection was a paper route. He did great with the delivery part, but he wasn’t so good with the collections part. A few years later he became a sports reporter for our local newspaper, and he also drew sports and political cartoons. I don’t remember being particularly impressed – after all, I knew my big brother could do anything.

The newspaper interest continued into the next generation. My son Christian created his own newspaper before the age of ten when he found an old Smith-Corona portable typewriter in the garage. Later, he had his own paper route, but it was one of those little advertising weeklies. A fun idea for a kid with a new bike, but not so much of a fun reality. As his interest shifted to music, he began to submit reviews of CDs and concerts to newspapers and magazines, and he eventually wrote a weekly religion column for the Pueblo Chieftain. The segue makes more sense if you know that his wife, his father-in-law, and his uncle are all ministers.

By this time, David and I were in Florida where my obsession (I admit it) continued. The first thing I did after my morning quiet time was spend half an hour or so with the Tampa Tribune. Still no hard news, but they had good comics and an amazing puzzle page. And then we moved back to Texas.

Now, don’t misunderstand. I love the Rains County Leader, and it has a pretty challenging crossword and Sudoku. However, it’s only once a week, and there are no comics. Maybe it was my need for more of a newspaper connection that inspired me to submit my first Letter to the Editor, or maybe I was just following in the footsteps of my brother and my son. Or maybe it’s a way to give back in return for all the amusement newspapers have provided me over the years. Regardless of how I got here, I thoroughly enjoy my role as columnist and correspondent.

There are those who say that newspapers will soon be a thing of the past. One source on Google said this: Dying might be too strong, but an industry in recession would not be an exaggeration. I hope the predictions are wrong and that print news rebounds as the online editorial commentary that masquerades as news loses favor. One of Robert Worley’s goals is to see existing Emory businesses flourish, and that would include the Rains County Leader. I wish him great success because, you see, I love this newspaper.



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Comments on: "I love newspapers! by Linda Brendle" (2)

  1. How much in crossword for me! Well put.

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