🎶 I can’t see me lovin’ nobody but you
For all my life
When you’re with me, baby the skies’ll be blue
For all my life🎶
Oh, how I hated that song!
If it plays on your clock radio at four in the morning, you will understand.
I had a Dallas Morning News paper route in Garland, Tx, and, at four o’clock, every morning ( EVERY MORNING, RAIN OR SHINE, HOT OR COLD) that stupid clock radio would disturb this young boy’s treasured sleep.
I was in the ninth grade at Memorial Junior High in Garland, Texas. I had gotten this, my first real job, the previous summer. The truck would arrive from Dallas at Orchard Hills Shopping Center sometime between 4:00 and 5:00 most mornings, and, if you were one of the first paperboys there, Mr. Jack Roland, the district manager, would count out your papers first, you could get an early start, and, if things went well, crawl back in bed and grab a few winks before breakfast.
But, for me, getting up was the hard part. Once up and pedaling my bike to work, I always enjoyed the job.
That could probably be credited to my dad. He worked for Nabisco (did you know that stands for National Biscuit Company?) for over forty years as a route salesman, and I never knew him to miss a day of work, or grumble about his job. He used to take me to work with him occasionally in the summer time, and I saw how fast he worked, how he seemed to know everything to do, how businesses he called on liked him, respected him.
I wasn’t new to the paper business. My older brother, David, had had a Dallas Times Herald route a couple of years earlier, (Dallas’ afternoon paper back in those days) and my dad had put some saddle baskets on my red J.C. Higgins bicycle with chrome fenders so that I could help him sometimes. My brother had a heavy duty Schwinn that was made for stuff like carrying newspapers. It had a huge basket on front, and a rack on the back to keep the saddle bags from rubbing the wheels. I learned to fold the papers tight, triple fold, so they would fly true through the air and hit the porch, learned the classic side arm throw, and even learned to throw from a moving bicycle.
In the eighth grade, my best friend, David Hall, got a Garland Daily News route, and I would ride my bike home with him every day, help him roll the papers (roll, not fold. Garland was small back in those days) and deliver them in the neighborhood around his house. Afterward, we would play one on one basketball in his driveway. When basketball season at Memorial arrived, I talked him into trying out with me for the team. I had played in the Parks and Recreation Dept. League for a couple of years, but he had never played. I could see us playing side by side in our school uniforms, the crowd cheering our moves, our shots.
He made the team.
My name was not on the list.
I think I cried on the way home.
David’s mom asked me if I would take over the paper route while he was playing, so I did.
I made a little money doing that, for a couple of months, but, the thing is, I enjoyed having a job.
Now, as a paperboy, you only get paid once a month.
And you have to collect the money yourself.
On my Morning News paper route, toward the end of the month, Mr. Roland would give me a bill for the papers I was given every day, plus the box of rubber bands I used, and I would have to take my collection book in the late afternoons and evenings up to each of my customers’ homes and collect my 1.70 for 30 or 31 days of delivering their paper, every day, on time, to their front porch. (If I missed the porch with my throw, I would stop my bike, walk to the yard, or bushes and toss it onto the porch. I didn’t miss much, but I do remember breaking a milk bottle, or two. I didn’t stop then.)
Once, I knocked on a customer’s door on a Monday night, I could hear the TV on, laughing in the back of the house. I knocked and knocked and knocked. Finally, Dick Nalley (the sports guy for the Garland News) came to the door, tears in his eyes, paid me and said,”Don’t ever come here again on a Monday night during Laugh-In!”
I had about 100 papers every day to deliver, ( a few extra on Sunday, because we had a Sunday only subscription for .85.)
I hated the Sunday papers.
You cannot throw a Sunday paper.
Sunday papers are heavy.
I had taken over my brother’s heavy duty Schwinn, (he had a driver’s license, now), but on Sundays, it was really easy to lose your balance, fall, and dump all your carefully loaded papers on the street.
Anyway, after I finished collections, (I had a nifty bank bag with a zipper to keep my money in.) I would take the money to Mr. Roland’s office, pay my bill, and I would get to keep all the rest.
I made about 70.00 for the month.
I was rich! I remember occasions when my mom would ask me if they could borrow money from me until payday. I would go to my desk, pull out my nifty bank bag, and hand them 1.00 or 5.00 or whatever they needed to tide them over.
“For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.””
Isaiah 28:10 ESV
Now, the reason I am sharing this story is for what I see in our culture today. I am guilty as well.
We have become an instant society.
We want it quick, and we want it now.
If CNN is not given the chance to ask the president elect a question because of its record, the world is ending.
We forgot how to build relationships, restore trust.
Because it takes time.
It is easier to make enemies, keep enemies, find others who will share in your enemy making.
The things that are important, that build you into the man or woman of character, are those little things that you do over and over and over again, with little reward, or notice, but you just do them.
Because it is right.
I seldom was told that they appreciated my efforts to put the paper on the porch.
But, every once in a while, someone would thank me.
That feels good.
Occasionally, I even got a tip.
That feels good, too.