There were three things that most defined my father. One thing that defined my father was his big and generous heart. The older he got, the more tender and generous he became. Another thing was his foul temper. He was by far the most creative cusser I have ever heard. He found reason to cuss out loud in the driveway before sunrise. The fact that the neighbors houses were in ear shot was irrelevant. But what might most define my father was his long tenure as a paper route drive with the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.
Every morning at about two o’clock, James Gonzalez woke up and climbed into his International Harvester Scout II and drove to pick up his cache of newspapers. Bundled in fifties, he would throw the newspapers into the back hatch of the Scout II and loaded one bundle on the passenger side of the front seat. Newspaper ink stained his thick and calloused hands. Those hands. A 16 ounce cup of coffee in the styrofoam cup didn’t seem enough.
Before he delivered the first paper, he would grab a coffee at the McStop, a McDonald’s/Truck stop; it made him feel like a trucker. My dad had a great respect for truckers, like they were wild horses and he was fenced in. He envied them. He had a route that lead him back home in a couple hours; their route took them across country. He bought a trucker ball cap, the kind found on the rotating rack at gas stations along the interstate, in order to fit in with the truckers.
Before the coffee went cold, he was off into the early morning darkness, rain, sleet, or snow.
Read Paper Route 2