Sunday, April 26, 2020

How to recycle kitty litter

I got my start in journalism by delivering the Globe and Mail newspaper.
Alex & Ed are a couple of posse cats

I was around 12.

Before I continue, I should wait for the laughter to die down. The laughter is coming from any of my siblings who might be reading this, because here are the facts of the matter:

I, Peter, technically did have a Globe and Mail paper route. But it gets complicated.

What you may not know is, the Globe and Mail, one of Canada's oldest and most respected newspapers, was and is a morning paper.

And I was, as a child, spoiled.

How spoiled, you ask? My late mom went to the trouble of having NINE babies before me just so that on those days -- and they were frequent -- when I did not feel like "doing" the paper route,  mom could get one of my older siblings to do it. But I still got paid. True beautiful fact.

Also that's why my brothers and sisters might well wet themselves laughing when they read about me having a paper route.

Looking back, why a few of them didn't, like, kill me and make it look like an accident, I'll never understand.

I do remember playing cowboys with my brothers Eddie and Alex. I was the bad guy and they were the posse and about to hang me when my mom stepped outside just in time so they never got the noose around my neck and I've been telling myself since that they wouldn't have gone through with it but still.

Having a Globe route in Sudbury was no walk in the park.

For one thing, like I said it was a morning paper, which meant delivering before school! In winter! In Northern Ontario! The local evening Sudbury Star was delivered at a much more civilized time.

Making matters worse was the fact that, almost every house received the Star, so if you delivered the Star and had, say, 25 customers, your afternoon route would only involve a walk of about two city blocks.

But those of us who proudly delivered the big city Globe and Mail that came all the way from Toronto served a more sophisticated, erudite and sparsely populated audience. So if you had 25 customers you had to walk way further and up and down a bunch of streets.

Sudbury is one hilly place. We lived on the north-south street called Eyre and our school St. Albert's was at the top of the hill and some mornings, the northwind was so nasty we would walk backwards up to school. I'm not making that up.

Imagine walking backwards up that same hill on a dark wintry morning carrying newspapers.

And the distances! I had one customer in the apartment building at the southwest corner of Douglas and Regent streets and another up way north of there, at the T where Stanley meets Pine. To  me, it seemed like the distance from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other when in fact I just googled it and it's one click or---at the time--under a mile.

I'm guessing I kept that cruel paper route a couple of months, tops. It involved way too many early mornings for me. Or even for my brothers and sisters.Who likes doing stuff like that at such a horrible time of day?

So I quit.

And why, you ask, am I telling you all about this now?

Simple. I wanted a topic for my blog.

But I'm feeling kind of lazy and not up to actually composing a story.

I decided to take the easy route and just republish something I wrote for that self-same Globe and Mail, in 2012, It's about our old cat; and if you click on her name  Mehitabel, you can read the piece and at the same time revisit what I said earlier about the Globe being "sophisticated" and "erudite." Ha.

Pretty clever way of  avoiding work, huh?

My only other choice would be to ask one of my brothers or sisters to pinch hit for me like they did with the paper route and God forbid we get their account of what I was like as a kid.

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