I love small town newspapers. When we moved here I could hardly believe that the paper only cam e out once a week. But now I understand. There is no National or even regional news reported in a small town paper. For that you buy the paper from the nearest big city. And in a small town, there is not enough news to report more then once a week. By the time the paper comes out, it’s usually old news anyway to more then half the people in the county. Baby’s births are listed months after the occurrence and hopefully the obituary is posted before the funeral, but doesn’t really matter because anyone who needs to know where the funeral is being held will anyway.
So then what big news is reported in the small town paper? Front page this week: Santa leads the Christmas parade on Sunday afternoon, anyone wanting to participate can. Young boy chasing a buck, bags a coyote instead, saving both his life and the deer’s. Hunting violations, national Wild Turkey Federation assisting feeding the hungry, and local calendar events. All ten pages cover births and deaths, sports, ads fro cars, restaurants, real estate, farm notes from Farm Service Agency, a history article and news articles from each little corner of the county that entertain and inform everyone who visited whom and who to pray for in that locale.
That little news article from the four corners of the county are one of my favorite parts of the paper. Of course I don’t know who everyone is because I’m not a native, and won’t ever be one, although one of my children has a chance of slipping in someday because he married a home town girl, and my grand children may one day be considered natives inspite of their out of state grandmother. But I still enjoy the local facts. One week it was about the spook that history says lives in our county-we have our own yeti tale. Sometimes it’s about mountain sayings- which helps me translate some of those meanings. Of course, after almost 15 years here I don’t’ hear the accent anymore and I usually know which way is up(south). For example, this week the writer from Sugar Grove informs us how to enjoy living in the country:
“Y”all is singular. All Y’all is plural. All Y’all’s is plural possessive.” Now that clears some things up. “Don’t be worried that one doesn’t understand anyone. They don’t understand one either.” I’m relieved. “It is not a requirement to spit, scratch or chew. Neither is it necessary to pick one’s teeth with hay, wear coveralls, or a cowboy hat or hitch up your britches. Please wear a belt instead of a rope. There are no outhouses.” Really, only some people are like that, not all.
“The cars in front of a house are operational. People walk slower here.” Yes, but my personal experience is that they make up the time they spend standing around talking on the road. Most drive much faster on these twisty mountain roads then any sane person would, but that changes too, the longer you live here. “Do not bring your winter wardrobe out until November. If there is a prediction of the slightest chance of even the most minuscule accumulation of snow, one’s presence is required at the local grocery store.” Not just for the bread and milk either but for the gasoline to run the generators when the power goes out. And of course to discuss what the chances are we will actually get the snow and to reminisce about the last 100 years of snow fall and forecasts.
So whatever you need to know for living in your small town, can be found in the small town newspaper. Many people who move away still subscribe to their small town paper. It’s the best way to keep in touch with the news, all ten pages of it.