Morning Ritual

Since I’m not a coffee drinker, I jolt myself to morning awareness with the caffeine of diet Pepsi. I pour a can in a frosted mug to go with my scrambled egg and cheddar cheese on a toasted English muffin.

I don’t sit at the kitchen table anymore. Now I sit at the bar and read the newspaper while I eat. Since I’ve given up on TV news, I follow Will Rogers’ saying, “All I know is what I read in the papers.” I get a smattering of national news, and that’s plenty for me.

I learn a lot about what’s going on in my area. Someone once wrote, “Everything in this newspaper is important to someone.” I agree.

I like the feel of the thin paper and the sound as I turn the pages and turning them back if I want to look at something again. The paper is a whole lot narrower than it was in my youth, and it’s easier to handle.

Of course, I read obits and notices of events in the community. I analyze the political cartoon and the editorial. I read op-eds and regular columns and letters to the editor. I glance at a few of the black and white comic strips in the daily paper. I tend to favor the ones that have one or two frames. If a comic needs four frames to tell a story, I think the pacing is off. I don’t read the Sunday funnies at all.

In the summer, I follow the KC Royals, not the play-by-play, but the final score under American League standings. In the fall, I follow the U of A Razorbacks, but they get short shrift in our paper. If they had a better season, the coverage would get better, I suspect.

I read Dear Abby, naturally, and I wonder at the people who can’t figure out the common sense approach to their lives. If we all took a step back and wrote a letter to Abby, we might see our lives differently and find an obvious (to others) way to solve our troubles.

I look at ribbon cuttings and county fair offerings, at engagement pictures and honor roll lists. I see what the city council is up to. Sometimes I cut out a recipe.

The best part of the paper, and the part that earns my second diet Pepsi, is the Celebrity Cipher. Only in the last two years have I attempted to decode the daily quote, and the last part I unravel is the name of the celebrity, since I don’t follow celebrities. Years ago I knew the guests on the Tonight show, but now I don’t recognize any and really don’t care, and I rarely stay up that late anyway.

Some people like the crosswords, but I’ve never been good at them. I don’t know the specific vocabulary and don’t think in the style of the clues. They defeat me, so I skip over that part. I want a good morning experience, a reflective time, and a relaxing time.

So there you have it, more than you ever wanted to know about my affection for my morning newspaper. I don’t know what changes will come within the span of 24 hours until the next paper is delivered, and I try to be open to whatever the new day brings, but I start my day the same.

Do you have a morning ritual that works so well you don’t want to start the day on the wrong step?

PS. I’m still marketing Here’s Your Trouble.