catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 11, Num 22 :: 2012.12.07 — 2012.12.20


Why I still subscribe

A significant reason I still get the paper in my hometown has to do with my memories of childhood, and the role the newspaper played in my learning about the world.  I have no idea why, but my memory of my dad’s daily afternoon practice was to arrive home from work at the General Motors Stamping plant, to loosen (or remove) his pants, and take off his work shirt, and sit down to read the Grand Rapids Press in some version of white underwear.  We kids knew to leave him alone during this time, and I did so until I was in college, when he and I would compete with each other to work the daily crossword puzzle. 

I still subscribe to the Grand Rapids Press today, even in the digital age when, in truth, most of my news comes from the New York Times website, and the Press has cut its delivery production to three days a week.  And I still read the comics first, and work the crossword puzzle often.  I skip much of what they used to call “Flair,” and I really only read Sports stories about the Detroit Tigers, also skipping the community stories about prep athletes, and the many stories about fishing and hunting.

I am amazed at the differences of opinion in the letters” section, or “Public Pulse"; and I sometimes wonder where all of these people learned their basic facts about the universe.  But I appreciate that we have a shared space where we can send in our thoughts and ideas about the world, and how to make it a better place, and where we can respectfully voice our opinions, disagree with each other, and even say “I’m sorry,” or “Thanks!” to our fellow community members.  This is one reason I still subscribe.

Several of my colleagues and friends have been highlighted in the newspaper for their unusually good work in service to others or to the creation, and this is a benefit I would miss out on if I did not subscribe to the paper.

One of our best family recipes came from the newspaper several years ago.  Ironically, it was a submission from a person we are friends with, but we had never eaten the dish she sent into the paper, African couscous paella, until we saw it printed in the Grand Rapids Press.  Also, my go-to recipe for cinnamon cranberry scones came from the Ann Arbor News several years ago, and many a Sunday brunch guest has been served these tokens of hospitality in our home.

People often comment how unusual it is that a city the size of Grand Rapids still has a newspaper section once a week fully dedicated to religion.  But my in-laws in Reading, Pennsylvania subscribe to the Reading Eagle, and I still read Bible verses from the editor in the Eagle when visiting on holidays.  West Michigan must not be the only community with an interest in things religious.  These stories from the religion section of the Press are often, though not always, very thoughtful, and they highlight the diversity of good work that happens in the name of a variety of religious traditions in our community.

To this day when I am visiting my parents’ house and the crossword puzzle remains unfilled, one of us will say some version of the following to the other: “Go ahead and give it your best shot, and I’ll finish it for you when you’re stuck.”  I almost never read the news in just my underwear, but the memories of my dad’s practice, along with many other reasons, have surely informed my regular practice of sitting down with that day’s edition of the Grand Rapids Press to share in the news my fellow citizens are also reading.

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