Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Newspapers,,Times are a'changin'

Newspapers convey to us words from around the blind corner: from places we can’t see or hear. News. I suppose that is where they got their name.

The evening newspaper. The end of an uneventful day. Time to read about events and people he didn’t experience while going about his daily activities. He didn’t see me seeing him as he sat down on the park bench. A folded newspaper clutched under his left arm. His right steadied a walking cane propped against the armrest of the bench.

Inside the folds of the cheap print paper tales of intrigue and current events waited patiently to spring forth and enlightened the gentleman. The evening sun added golden highlights to the silver mane that had been neatly combed even though time could be nearing for a barber’s tool. A brightly colored automobile stopped for the red light, one of those new “hybrids” he had heard and read about. Pedestrians waiting for the “walk” light to indicate “go” for the foot traffic. A countdown clock,,4,3,2,1, and tiny LED lights formed an outline of a walking man gave the signal to “walk”.

“My goodness, times have changed”, his words heard only by one of Shorty’s descendents. Shorty had been the park mascot, a small fox squirrel that had been adopted by the park visitors a few years earlier. A squirrel can be easily bought with a steady supply of peanuts.

“I wonder what the stock market did today”? The bank across the street once had a “ticker tape” billboard on the front façade, but now long gone. He rarely let a day go by that he had not charted the up and down graphs in his mind as he spoke to his broker by phone that actually had a coiled wire hooking the receiver to the body of the telephone. “Oh well, things worked out OK”. The stock market had been a minor hobby of his. The sales and marketing opportunities had allowed for his family to be sheltered in a modest home and all his sons and daughter had gone to and graduated from college. He made a mental note to check and see how they were getting along. Getting them through college was his major goal and worry as they grew to adulthood. He often worried that their opportunity would not be as fertile as when he got out of college.

“Shorty Junior, do you have lots of ‘hickornuts’ stashed away for the winter?, might be a long hard one.” Shorty junior didn’t to seem to care much as he reached and took the peanut from the silver haired gentleman. A sudden click and buzzing sound of a starting street lamp sent Shorty Junior scurrying into the hedge bushes. The wind stirred with a dry chillness as the smiling gentle spoke to no one . “Guess it is too late to read about the weather”. Remembering the newspaper under his arm brought another chuckle without an audience.

“Yep, times are a’changing, but I hope they don’t stop printing newspapers. I sure hope it don’t rain”. The unfolding rustle of the newspaper as he spread it to cover himself from the night dew, echoed against the bank’s brick wall.

Post "POST",, After the first two comments, I see that I have missed the mark on this one.  I suppose this might need further explaination.  lol.. There was a local news story about the downtown area making a fuss about the homeless in the park.  This was meant to be a different view in the fact that we never know what the history of these visitors is.  The "man" is ok with his situation because he has done what he had set out to do before this period in time.  I supposed I interjected my worry of getting my girls out of college into the story and it landed soundly out of place.  Both he and I are "fine" with the children situation. lol. You folks sure are great.. lol


  1. How poignant. Wonder if his children, grown and gone, know of his plight?

    Do they care?

  2. Great story and post.......sad that he was alone with a squirrel instead of one of his well educated children. He sounds like a good man.
    .....:-) Hugs

  3. I'm considering letting go of the paper. It's a financial decision really...and I can get the news for free on the web, but something holds me back, like I alone might be staving off the inevitable day when there are no physical papers, or books, or ink. Sad.

  4. I actually liked that part, Glenn, the juxtaposition of the man homeless up against his real past of being able to get his girls to college. Kinda drove it home for me.

    Who are we to assume we know what kind of lives homeless people have lived, or live for that matter?


  5. I loved this. I could picture the man talking to Shorty while feeding him peanuts. Some how I knew what the newspaper was for. good post.

  6. I love when I have an instant affection for a character. Well done Glenn. This was terrific. You always engage me with your stories. You have a writer's heart for sure (and talent too!)

  7. Seven paragraphs and I know this man like an old friend. Touching story, beautifully written.

  8. No -- I didn't think of the guy as homeless as I read the story -- but I was fascinated by the gentleman and his musing. I sort of identified with it. It takes writing for me to do that.