Around Fathers Day, we see ads telling us to buy a gift for Dad. The movie “Field of Dreams” goes into heavy rotation to spark memories. My own reminder arrives on my porch every morning, year-round. It is the newspaper.
To attract my dad’s ghost, I would have to build not a baseball field, but a smoky bar of the kind where old-school newspapermen used to hang out. My dad wasn’t famous. He topped out at section editor for a small paper. It was no Pulitzer factory, just a good, honest newspaper. Dad was a storyteller whose writing never rose above journeyman level, but who nevertheless made his living getting the stories out. He preferred reporting but he became good at the managerial and administrative tasks out of financial necessity. Regardless of the lure of higher pay, he never accepted a position that would take him too far away from contact with the words and the ink.
Instead of baseball, we bonded over reading the newspaper on weekend mornings. I would take sports first. Dad would take opinion. Our version of playing catch was critiquing the headlines. I grew up and moved away, but I like to think that, as he read his newspapers at home and as I read mine in far-flung cities, we both stepped through a doorway into that pleasant world that existed for a time in a suburban sunroom, and in our memories for years thereafter, and now just in my memory.
They haven’t made the newspaper equivalent of “Field of Dreams” yet, but I don’t need a movie to take me into my dream of Dad. All I have to do is open today’s paper, and I’m there. And I know — to paraphrase — if I read it, he will come.
Christopher Jones lives in Rutland.