Cancelling The New York Times

When she heard about Dad's death, the customer service lady at The New York Times immediately cancelled the invoice for payment of his weekly large print edition and offered her sympathies. I hung up and cried. We are closing out Dad's life on earth. As we make calls like the one to the NYT and as I rewrite and send his obituary off to the churches where Dad and Mom were members and to the college where he obtained his undergraduate degree and to which he gave so generously, well, then it hits me.  John, Kate and I are living in a different world now.
It was the NYT that changed our lives in 1951, when Dad and Mom read a classified ad for a principalship at Lago Oil & Transport Co. in Aruba (subsidiary of Standard Oil, NJ, now ExxonMobil). We lived in a very small town in upper New York State and on Sundays after church, we'd drive seven miles to the next town over where a tobacco shop carried the NYT.
I do not know when Dad first became a lifelong reader of the NYT. I wish I'd asked him. How did this young man who grew up on upstate New York, attended to a small Methodist college and then taught high school math and science in a small oil town near Buffalo ever become familiar with the NYT?
He spent summers at Cornell working on a master's degree. Was it in Ithaca that he began to read the paper?  Or was it Mom who found the NYT? I so wish I knew. And why does it seem important to know? Now?
Somehow when they were alive and had the NYT dropped daily in front of their house, I never thought to ask. It was just what was done. Mom worked the crossword puzzles and they both ranted about daily events and atrocities, moving ever leftward in their support of the rights of all people, wherever they lived on this planet.
Of late, Dad could no longer read the print in the regular edition of the NYT; however, he still he held on to his daily subscription. A caregiver would circle the ExxonMobil stock price and write it in the margin, so Dad could follow his investment. When we visited, Dad never failed to show us that section of the paper. He'd give us all the other sections of the NYT, but he kept the Business section in the pocket of his walker.
It took me awhile to realize that he couldn't see to read the rest of the paper, and so I began a subscription for him to the weekly large print edition. Maybe he read it? I really don't know, but I kept renewing it.
The new invoice arrived a couple of days ago, and if I'd paid it, the paper would have been delivered through June 6. The kind lady at The New York Times waived the fee and offered her condolences.
As I said, it was then that I cried.

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