Folded Molly Ivins in the mail

Soon as she heard it on the news, JJ called to tell me Molly Ivins had died. So many times Dad had clipped Molly's column from the Lincoln newspaper to mail. The Dallas Morning News didn't have the moxie to run Molly's op ed, so JJ and I passed Dad's Lincoln clipping around the lunch table and tsk-tsk-ed about Shrub.

What is it about the intergenerational mailing of newspaper clippings that makes it the postal service equivalent of homemade meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, and Tollhouse cookies with nuts warm from the oven? What is to become of generations deprived of newsprint tactile experiences? Receiving an email notice with a link to an online news story with an interactive slideshow just doesn't say "I love you, but check your tire pressure" the way a clipping in the mail does.

Unfold the latest Leon Satterfield, the Calvin Trillin verse, Ted Kooser's poetry column, the obit of Velma from Avoca, or the grainy photo of the Virgin Mary image seen in an oilspot on a driveway in Valparaiso. Feel loved.

That clipping in the mail may be advice from Dr. Gott or Heloise, but it really says:

  1. I care about you.
  2. I want to feel connected.
  3. I want you to stay aware of your community.
  4. I want you to think about the future because I'm thinking about your future.
  5. I can almost see you smiling as you read this.
  6. I'll always be your mommy no matter how old you get.
  7. I'm proud of you for trying to fix the bathroom tile yourself, but you might need this information about grout.
  8. So glad I raised you to be an informed and questioning citizen of the world.
  9. Baking soda has an amazing number of uses.
  10. Isn't this ad for the ugliest sofa on earth?

Dad's Lincoln newspaper is being delivered to his room at the rehab hospital so he can stay interested and informed. He thought it was a silly extravagance, but I insisted that he read the paper every day. He's already wondering if he might want his Walkman, if only for Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. I think Dad realized that Molly Ivins wouldn't want him to just sit in the wheelchair and stare at his hands in his lap. I hope he'll clip a few columns using his nosehair scissors.

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