Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Mac’s in the Morning

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Where I was, my morning paper arrived without fail on my doorstep before 6:00 AM.

The deliveryman would heave it from mid-driveway. He had quite an arm. More often than not it was my wake-up call. The ‘thud’ it made when it hit the front door was as good as any alarm clock. That, plus the fact that his van needed a new muffler, told me it was time to stumbled down to pick up the daily news.

When the weather was bad a plastic bag protected the paper. Sometimes the impact with my front door broke the plastic open. If I wasn’t quick I often ended up with a soggy mess of newsprint.

But, at least it arrived on time.

Where I am, there’s no such guarantee. Big city newspapers don’t get home delivery in small towns. Which means getting out of bed, getting dressed, getting in your car and driving into town to Mac’s Milk on Highway 21 to see if the Star has made it from Toronto three hours down the road.

            If you get to Mac’s anytime after 6:30 AM you’re usually in luck. On the odd day you’ll have to wait for the delivery van to arrive. With a cup of Mac’s so-so coffee the wait is tolerable. Besides, you get to socialize with the lady behind the counter. People get to know your name. Workmen leave their trucks idling outside and come in for coffee and cigarettes. Doesn’t do the environment much good. But, Al Gore means nothing to these guys,

            Come winter, it’s a different story. When the snow squalls blow in off Lake Huron, Georgian Bay and Owen Sound, the O.P.P. likes to close all connecting highways and county roads. Nothing moves. And that includes my morning paper. But, if I time it right I beat the snowplow home and get into my garage before he barricades the driveway with a line of snow three feet high.

            Regardless of the weather I make my way to Mac’s every morning. I see the same man walking his dog and I wave. I pass the same two women speed walking and speed talking and I wave. Each truck that drives by gets a wave even if I don’t know the man behind the wheel. Waving is automatic. The locals expect it. And in a small town you can’t afford not to acknowledge the wave. People talk.

            My morning drive takes me down empty, quiet streets past houses where one light shines in the darkness. It’s always the same houses. The glow of a TV set illuminates the living room of one, the fluorescent glare of a stove light burns from the kitchen of another. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of someone moving about and I wonder if they’re going for a paper too.

            Come the good weather, I leave the car and ride my bike waving to the same people, peering into the same windows.

It sounds a touch mundane, but it forces you to begin each day with a quest. Compared to where I was, where I am leaves me feeling more alive than home delivery ever did.










Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

January 1, 2008 at 2:25 PM

Posted in thoughts

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