The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

November 9, 2013

Murray: Life lessons learned on a paper route

Snow and freezing rain pelted my face. Head down, I trudged through the slush on a dark Tuesday night, a sack of Home Magazines slung over my shoulder. We were already passed delivery deadline. We needed to keep moving.

I turned around to see if the boy was coming. He was. Slowly.

“How’s it going, buddy?”

Silence.

“Dude. How’s it going?”

He threw his arms up in exasperation and said, “Sucks. I don’t want to be here!”

He didn’t want to be there. But he was there. Come to think of it, I didn’t want to be there either. The weather was miserable. It would have been a whole lot more fun back at the homestead, hunkered down over an episode of “The X Files” on Netflix, a glass of Finnegan’s in my hand. And I'm quite sure he'd rather be with his friends, or playing "Assassin's Creed IV."

Instead, we were out going door to door in the season's first snowstorm, handing out Home Magazines and feeling miserable.

It wasn’t our finest moment ... But we finished — roughly 2 1/2 hours after we started — and then limped back to the car. The drive home was quiet and wet (made slightly less quiet by a pit stop at McDonald’s for McNuggets, the taste of which improves dramatically when you're cold, wet and unhappy.) Mostly, though, we were just glad it was over.

My son is 13. Too young for a fill-out-a-W2 kind of job, but not too young to handle a job like a weekly paper route. He’s not going to get rich with it. But it gives him enough money to buy a video game (or a video game system) when he wants, or a few songs on iTunes, or that wacky “traveling saxophone” thing he bought from an artisan at the Renaissance Festival (a story for another time perhaps.)

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