I'm not sure when my Dad (or Mom for that matter) started reading the New York Times. As long as I've been alive and aware of my surroundings, the Times has been a constant in the lives of my parents.
At 94, my Dad totes around a copy of "All the News that's Fit to Print" tucked in the sturdy pocket of his walker. I don't think he reads much of the paper anymore; the print is too small for him and turning the pages for articles on the inside of the paper too much effort with the shaking of his hands from Parkinson's disease. He definitely looks for the Exxon stock quote Tuesday through Saturday although he asks one of the caregivers to study the fine print and write the closing value of the stock in pen on the front of the business section so he can pull it out from time to time and think about the dollar amount of those shares.
The Sunday paper he never opens at all; saving it for me to pick up and take home.
"Don't you want to read any of the Sunday Times, Dad?", I'll ask.
"No, I'm saving it for you."
I try to make good on my promise to read it; paging through the Travel Section and focusing on the Book Review but letting the meat of the paper drop in the recycle bin. My bad but there's only so much time, I rationalize.
I remember, as a child and teenager living in Aruba, the NY Times was a special treat for my parents because they had to wait for the privilege of paging through the "real news" of the day until early evening. The daily flights from New York City landed in Aruba towards mid to late afternoon with an unknown quantity of the Times on board. I never knew where all those copies went but one of them arrived, hand delivered to the doorstep of my parents by a man in a car who'd driven the fifteen miles from the airport in Oranjestad into the Lago Colony. Many times with flight delays, the paper might not arrive until after dark. Nevertheless, the man in the car didn't just pitch the paper up to the door but walked through the gate and rapped on our door. Special Delivery.
Dad, (and sometimes Mom) would spend the evening after dinner reading the New York Times just around the time that the printing presses were ready to spew out the next edition on the East Coast. Dad then toted the Times to work the next day for the school library. He merited special delivery of the paper as the principal of the Lago school in Aruba; a nice perk for a man who adored his connection to the mainland. After all, he had planned on a one year adventure in Aruba when hired in 1951 but ended up living and working on the island for 26 years.
Home delivery of the New York Times in 2011 is expensive, especially considering how little of the paper is actually read by Dad or me. My subtle queries to Dad regarding whether or not he'd like me to change the subscription, cancel, or set up home delivery of the local paper are always met with a quick "NO!". I think he hangs on to a memory that makes him feel comforted or comfortable in some small way. This expense is worth it, I rationalize.