A Sunday Paper

I consider it an inevitability that I will see the end of regular print newspapers in my lifetime, at least in the majority of markets. That's a shame, particularly for Sundays. As long as the editor is at all competent, the Sunday paper is a perfectly curated snapshot of places and histories otherwise untold, and not because of whatever major package the newspaper staff has put together for A1. I can't remember what was on the front page of last week's Sunday News-Miner, but I do recall that there was an obituary for a woman named Velma Fay Reynolds. She was born near Rolla, Missouri, and was a twin. She came out first, followed by her sister, Thema. Their father was picking potatoes when their mother went into labor, and served as the midwife. The next day the doctor came out to the farm to give Velma and Thema a clean bill of health. I also recall the AP wire brief about a beach on Kodiak reopening six weeks after a rocket exploded there. And they're talking about shipping more coal from the Wishbone mine. And there's a remote Alaska mountain that's started smoking. They don't know why. The Miner has a fantastic stable of correspondents. They don't try to be timely or provocative, but simply write about life. I was devastated by Linden Staciokas' essay on the way that her illness turns her into a monster sometimes, pushing away the people she loves most. I know a while from now, after I've forgotten her name, I'll remember Linda's story, and I think it will make me a better person when I do. And it was tucked into a little corner of the E Section. Won't this all go online? Yes, but I won't read it. I can't remember the last time I read an obituary online--other than those of famous people printed in the New York Times. It's too easy to skip past them. I certainly wouldn't click on a link promising a sad piece written by a cancer patient. I don't have cancer, why should I care? But that's life. Probably not many potato farmers delivering their own kin anymore, either. Or people named Velma and Thema for that matter. If progress shuts down the coal mines as well as the newspapers, I might call it a wash. But if I want to stay alive to see that play out, I'll have to watch out for rockets while walking on the beach.