02 February 2013

With Every Paper We Deliver

But February made me shiver
With every paper I'd deliver

You've all heard those lines in Don McLean's "American Pie." When someone asked him what the song meant to him, he Said, "That I'd never have to work another day in my life."

For me, it evokes memories of delivering the Asbury Park Press forty (!) years ago, right around the time McLean's masterpiece lorded over the airwaves.  One of my few achievements in life--and one I'm talking about for the very first time--is having been selected "carrier of the week".  No one ever explained the criteria used in making the choice; for all I knew, they just pulled a name out of a hat.

I mean, other carriers had longer routes or delivered more papers.  I was an honor student, but so were some of the other carriers.  And they won bonus prizes the Press offered for one thing and another, as I did.

Stranger things have happened.

I was reminded of that experience, and McLean's song, by a story someone passed on to me.  

I delivered newspapers all through three New Jersey winters.  I guess that's a respectable accomplishment, but I can't hold a candle to Bud Schaefer, who's been delivering 37 copies of the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin in the Minnesota winter.

He admits that when the snow piles up, he delivers his papers by car and rides a trainer.

Still, he has my admiration.   And my respect:  He's 86 years old, and my mother taught me to respect my elders.


  1. That is a great story!

    I, too, delivered newspapers by bike. Forty years ago also, in Ft. Wayne, IN. I was able to save up enough money to buy a Schwinn Collegiate, and a couple years later, a Schwinn LeTour.

  2. Big Oak--Thank you. I like your story, too.

    I actually rather enjoyed delivering papers. Of course it meant, in essence, making money (not a lot, but some) for riding my bike a couple of hours a day. But I also was free: I didn't have a boss or teacher hovering over me. All that mattered was that people got their copies of the Press!

  3. '66 /'67 I delivered newspapers to pay for a summer flight to stay with family in Canada. Sundays were a free for all for rounds so I always arrived first and got a couple of long but sparse rounds which I could do really fast by bike. never spent a single penny that whole year...

  4. Coline--Motivation is the key to most things in life, isn't it?