Every morning, I enjoy starting my day with the newspaper.
Through the years, I've adopted a pattern when reading the news. First, there's the front page. That's where I get caught up on all the international, national, state and local mayhem that has occurred overnight. It's often a sobering experience to learn what new corners of the world are falling apart as my life quietly moves along.
When I look deeper into the pages of the paper, I find things lighten a bit. There are the reports from the latest Town Council meeting, the announcements of such community events as a play at the high school, the opening of a new store or the closing of an old one. Here and there, items cover who's doing what and where.
But, once I've fulfilled my civic duty to get the latest news digested, I turn to the comic page. For me, the "funnies" have always served as a reading dessert after the meal of the news.
Through the years, I've come to rely on my daily dose of comic humor to provide an antidote to the woes of the world covered elsewhere in the paper.
Among my favorites on this light-hearted page is the classic and gentle humor of Charles Schulz's Peanuts. Although Schulz has been gone for some time now, his popular strip is being published the second time around.
Editor's note: Due to computer related issues, this week's column is a reprint from Dec. 11, 2008.
I find the glimpses into the kids' world of Charlie Brown and his little pals never grows old. Almost every strip leaves me recalling a piece of my childhood and the youngsters I knew back then.
Another favorite strip is Shoe. It's devoted to the unlikely adventures a journalistic bird, Cosmo Fishhawk. Under the heavy hand of his editor, P. Martin Shoemaker, Cosmo struggles to meet deadlines while avoiding the threat of burial by the paper mountain on his desk.
As a writer, I feel a kinship with poor old Cosmo. I've been fortunate that my editors don't fit the Shoemaker mold but, like Cosmo, I too am always under that deadline gun. His comic strip adventures ring true for me.
But as much as I enjoy Peanuts and Shoe, my current favorite daily dose of fun comes from a strip called Pickles. This cartoon treasure chronicles the day-to-day life of an older couple, Earl and Opal, and their family.
I relate to these two. They seem to look at life much as my husband and I do. In fact, one recent strip reflected a common feeling among those of us in the AARP set.
The strip opens with Opal standing outside the bathroom door. She hears whistling coming from inside.
When Earl comes out, Opal says, "What are you so happy about?"
Earl answers, "Oh, nothing. It's just nice to wake up in the morning and find out everything still works."
That's the kind of humor I depend on to take my mind off the stuff I read on the newspaper's front page.