Saturday, February 18, 2023

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Later!

PAPER VIEW: Headlines like this are worth the price of subscription
I just a received a pair of texts from my directly-across-the-street neighbour Sonja.

First text: "Did you get the Star this morning? I didn't."

Text No.2: "There's a delay. Check your email."

I checked: This is what my email said: 

"Dear Reader,

The Toronto Star is experiencing production delays in printing your Toronto Star this morning. We expect the paper to be delivered to your door well past our normal delivery time.  Although much later than usual, the paper is expected to be delivered today." 

To access today’s Toronto Star newspaper right away, you can sign in to our ePaper edition, a digital replica of the newspaper. As a home delivery subscriber, the ePaper is available to you daily at no additional cost. You can also get full access to website. If you haven’t set up your complimentary access yet, please see our step-by-step instructions at

Thank God for Sonja is what I say. 

The  Expositor's like a letter from home.

I mean that. 

Sonja's been here for as long as we've lived on this street and I love her family like relatives.

Sonja's husband Don is among the wittiest people I know; their two kids are credits to the species, and I even like her dog McTavish though  a few months back Sonja and Don attended a wedding and asked if I'd mind walking their beloved McT and I said yes but then I got scared silly because I thought "oh crap, we're going to have McTavish out on his leash on our busy sidewalk; something bad's going to happen; they're going to return to a pet-less home and we'll still be living across the street." 

We only walked McTavish one house east and then took him home again. 

After all the excitement of getting his leash on and heading out the door and then winding up back in his living room after an 80-second walk, McTavish must have been like, "Huh? What the f just happened there??" (Pretty sure McTavish doesn't cuss.)

But never mind the dog. We have neighours to be cherished. In all four directions. And quite a few of them get the Star delivered every day. 

Subscribing to the daily paper might seem quaint to you, but we also have a landline. Some days, I think my wife Helena wants to keep the old phone because it gets me off the couch. Mostly, the landline's an electronic welcome mat to phone spam.

Except every once in a while, I wind up on the phone with my friend and journalistic mentor Ernest Hillen, which happened as recently as yesterday. I returned Ernest's call to remind him of the title of a book called "Scoundrel," which I highly recommend, and he and I stayed on the line for 73 minutes, which is, when it comes to an Ernest call, on the brief side. 

For some reason I don't like being on the cell phone that long.

I'm probably just channeling my late grandma Carter here. She was leery about about moving from a woodstove to an electric oven. 

Back to the Star. (I should mention I also subscribe to and sometimes read aloud from the finest little newspaper in the world, The Manitoulin Expositor. Helena has been known to tease me when I cite the Expositor. She says it reminds her of M*A*S*H's Hawkeye Pierce reading the Crabapple Cove Courier but I know she liked Alan Alda a lot so she gets a by on this.)

The email said the newspaper would be late but if I wanted immediate access to all  the news that's in the paper and more, I could just click on a link, so instead of writing this blog I could be reading the Toronto Star online. (And you could be reading something other than Pete's Blog&Grille!)

Did I click the link?  I did not. Will I read the Toronto Star when it arrives? 

Yes, I will read it. And not only because crossword puzzles are no fun on computer.

Fact is, one of these days, there's not going to be a daily Toronto Star in its current form. Its demise seems inevitable, and I'm going to miss the morning paper when it's gone. 

MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS: What will Mateus hang on to?
I'll miss stepping out into wintery weather in housecoat and slippers to fetch the rolled-up Star off the porch and poring over it during breakfast. I'll even miss adding to the household elastic band collection.

I'll miss having my adrenaline kickstarted by some big headline telling me that the 68-year-old mayor just had an affair with a 31-year-old and is quitting (I can hear my late brother Ed now "He's not resigning: He's bragging!") or that another 82-year-old former sex symbol has bought the farm. (Hey! Maybe Ed'll finally meet Raquel. Now there's a thought!) 

I'll miss the Bad Boy ads, the good-guy obits, my  horoscope and of course the crosswords.

But I won't miss them that much. 

Not as much I'd miss, you know, if they were gone, like, you know, neighbours. Important stuff.

Which brings me to this: I love wondering about my grandson Mateus, when he's my age; what's he going to be hanging on to nostalgically? 

I bet it'll be important stuff.