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The Gray Badge of Honor

newspaperBack in Ye Oldie Days, our post-breakfast routine included a thorough hand-washing. Sticky maple syrup was only one reason, and that was only on Sundays, when Dr. Science (aka the Royal Consort) made pancakes.*

Every other day of the week it was fingers smudged with newspaper ink that ended up under the faucet. Back then, we hated newspaper ink. Back then, we held newspapers by the ink-free edges. Back then, we shook our fists against scientists who could send a man to the moon but not invent ink that blah blah blah.

Now we are proud to be part of the dwindling (and perhaps only) print subscribers in our city. Our ink-smudged fingers are a gray badge of honor. Even the kitties ignore their ink-smudged paws.

Why? Dr. Science says Sports. Never mind that he watched the game the night before, that he can look up the box score on the web. He likes reading the sports section with breakfast. The Prince likes the comics. And I like the headlines. Plus? There’s something cozy about sharing a newspaper between the three of us. Sometimes we talk and laugh about what we’re reading. Other times we read silently. But we always leave for work and school the same way: with smudged fingers, each of us carrying a reminder of how we started the day, as a family, sharing the paper together.

* Scientific pancakes are in the shape of letters, sometimes spelling out short words. Go ahead. Try to make a pancake that spells CAT.

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