When I was a kid growing up in Walla Walla, Washington, one of my Sunday rituals was to offer to walk to the Southgate drugstore, about a mile from our house, to fetch my dad one of the out-of-town papers -- either the Portland Oregonian, the Spokane Spokesman-Review, or the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. These excursions were a win-win situation for everyone. Dad would get a chance to read the political, business, and sports pages of a thick metropolitan paper, to supplement the wafer-thin Sunday Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. He'd also have one less kid running around the house on a Sunday. I'd have an excuse to browse the comics rack, paperback shelf, and toy section of the drugstore; plus, I'd get to sample out-of-town comic strips, redolent with the funk of bad color ink on newsprint crushed in tall bundles trucked in from a few hundred miles away.
All that came to mind this morning, when NPR announced on Morning Edition that the Seattle P-I print edition went the way of all newsprint today -- it faded away.
The P-I will live on in a Web-only version, which I imagine will have a much lower overhead. But Walla Walla kids won't be able to walk a mile to the drugstore to pick it up for their parents. And there probably won't be comics. There definitely won't be the smell.
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