I have a daily ritual for my newspaper reading. I read my Augusta Chronicle in the evenings around 10 p.m. or so. I am a retired nurse anesthetist. In case someone doesn't know, I put people to sleep for surgery and -- here's where the big bucks come in -- I wake them up at the appropriate time.
I retired two years ago from the VA Medical Center and am living off the huge federal retirement my mother told everyone at the beauty parlor I would have one day. So I have the luxury of reading my newspaper whenever I choose.
Reading it late in the evening allows me to make the most of my day. The "big questions" pending to be settled that day are, indeed, settled, and I do not have to spend my day worrying about them.
I usually go to the obituaries first. Growing up in a small north Georgia town, Elberton, everyone knows that is the most important news of the day.
I can skip the sports section; my friend Freda will keep me up-to-date with all of the golf swings, touchdowns and home runs. She is an avid Braves fan, good season or not, and, of course, like every faithful Georgian, a loyal Bulldogs fan.
After the obits, I look quickly at the national scene. The 6:30 p.m. news covers that, so why bother spending much time worrying over it? It is like reading the ending to a book, then reading the book from the beginning; I already know what's going to happen.
I spend most of my time in the metro section, although not a long time.
It informs me of local crime, who got caught doing what to whom, and, most importantly, the editorials and letters to the editor.
This is the section that has the biggest effect on my blood pressure, although I do not have hypertension. I disagree on virtually everything The Augusta Chronicle supports and vice versa. This whole process takes about 20 minutes of my day -- sorry, my evening.
When I finish the paper, I fold it as neatly as it arrived. I take it to my newly painted garage and dispense the newspaper into its assigned cardboard box.
Then once a week, my 13-year-old neighbor, Kyle, or his sister, Shannon, pick them up and take them to their church to be recycled.
This saves me the gas and time of taking them myself. After all, I am retired and have important places to go and people to see.
This is a scheduled routine that happened by chance and works with never a hitch.
If my paper is late or wet, it is replaced in the morning and my alloted evening newspaper reading time is not delayed, nor are my daily plans.
If Kyle is not available, Shannon is a pretty substitute.
So my day, my newspaper reading and my retirement proceed as smoothly as a well oiled nongovernmental machine.
-- Don Tate, Chronicle reader