My Dad would sit in the kitchen chair, the one with the ripped blue plastic seat cover, and read the newspaper to my Mom while she made dinner: meat loaf or tuna casserole or fish sticks and some kind of frozen veggie — if they were lima beans, they would be burned. He’d turn one page with his good arm and shake it out straight, while holding the other page stationary on the table with his crippled arm.

“Oh for Pete’s sake,” he would mumble, and my mother would say, “What?” Pause. “Frederick, what?” He would finish the story, grunting, and then summarize the latest outrage for her, reading the choice bits out loud. Usually something to do with Democrats.

“Oh for God’s sake,” she would agree, the fresh indignity fueling energetic attacks with the carrot peeler. “I don’t know what this country’s coming to.” (She really did say that, and not infrequently.)

“It’s the communists,” Daddy would say, unless he had finished a glass or two of sherry in which case he would say, “It’s those damn communists,” and mother would say, “Frederick!”

He would lick the thumb of his good hand to get it sticky, turn the next page, shake it smooth, and begin to read the latest from the Sports page.

“Mmmm,” Mom would say, and “Oh my.” But she would be humming and not really listening anymore.

When he got to the comics, he would laugh till he wheezed.

I loved the rustle of the newspaper, the predictable banter, that safe time each evening before the sherry kicked in and “the unpleasantness” started.

I loved to hear my Dad read

I loved to hear my Dad read

Thanks to WordPress for the word prompt: Newspaper

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