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Pins And Needles: The Sunday Paper

Gloria MacKay tells of one of the great joys of Sunday morning Ė sorting out the many sections of a newspaper which comes stuffed in a blue plastic bag like a bed roll, then settling down for a long, delicious read.

Six mornings a week my newspaper butts up against the front door like a puppy asleep at my feet. I could, if I chose, crack open the door, stick out a naked arm attached to a naked body and rake the paper in without causing a stir. After years of living well outside 'the normal delivery area' where my morning paper catapulted toward the porch in the middle of the night from a radio blaring truck, this is an indulgence I had forgotten existed.

My Sunday paper is a different matter, as it should be, considering it weighs as much as a basset hound, and also considering it is no more like the everyday edition than steak and eggs are like oatmeal. Sunday mornings are special just like the paper it brings. It waits for me on the walk two steps down from the porch, stuffed in a blue plastic bag like a bed roll. My arm is not that long, so every Sunday morning I dress for the occasion, prepared to step outside, fully clothed, and meet the dawn head on. If I tip toe my bare feet over the aggregate and donít bang the door, the neighbor's two Golden Retrievers stay silent.

Back inside, it is time to read what I brought in. The Sunday paper needs to be read on Sunday morning, or at least sorted out so that one knows what one is dealing with. You just canít leave a paper that size lying around like a door stop. A mug of coffee steams on the table to the left of my chair, while I click the television to CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood.

I slide the paper out of its wrapper and set it on my lap, as heavy and warm as a comforter. Next, I begin to dismember it in sections; the ads spew out all over the carpet like a school of shiny smelt. The best I can figure, some advertisements are bundled together in their own wrapper, some are shoved in between the comic strips and who knows where the others come from? At any rate, there they are just where I want them, off my lap and on the floor.

Then I grope for the three magazines: TV Section, Parade and Pacific Northwest Magazine. The first I set in the basket under the table and, at the same time, lift out last weeks and toss it on the floor. The other two I read then and there and on the carpet they go. The classifieds tumble. Then the various opinion pages skitter into the pile (though, on occasion, one is allocated to the basket). Down goes the real estate section ó after I read the home improvement columns and look over the award-winning floor plans. You never know when you'll have replace a p-trap or repair your gutters, or move. All this time, Charles Osgood, bow tie level and crisp, cruises through the Sunday Morning news and features with his usual aplomb.

If rituals have peak moments, rooting out the Northwest Life section is mine. I fold the crisp New York Times crossword puzzle facing me and, at the same time, resurrect last week's attempt (smudged and defaced) from the basket. Right now it is the answers I want.

Of course.

I knew that.

How could I not have remembered the Battle of Hastings was fought in 1066?

I toss the old one to the floor and into the basket goes the new, as pristine as newly fallen snow. I will work on it all week long. At the end of every day I am sure that I have taxed my knowledge to the max. Only half done but why bother? One begrudging peek the next morning and I fill a few more boxes. And the next, and the next and the next. I donít know why I canít remember everything I know all at once?

Northwest Life is a keeper along with Entertainment and the Arts and Local News. Thereís no reason Obituaries canít wait a day or two. The same with Travel and Business. I am down to just one section warming my lap. The Front Section, which I skim from back to front. (I don't know why; it's a ritual. Rituals don't have to have reasons.) Then with a satisfied flick of my wrist in the basket it goes.

I stand and stretch, but before I break a leg I gather the slippery mass from the carpet and heave it into the recycling bin in the garage. The dogs next door are yapping it up, which brings me back to the moment. Charles Osgood is gone, but it must still be Sunday morning. I'm ready for bacon and eggs.

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