If you ask me, one of the great pleasures of life is the Sunday New York Times. It’s a monster-sized newspaper – though, as with all newspapers, a lot smaller than it used to be – filled with stories that are well-written, quirky, informative, and just plain interesting. As I’m sure you know.
In our Montreal life, Raymond and I had an excellent post-church-service tradition of Sunday brunch: Raymond’s Famous Scrambled Eggs with sausages or bacon, toast or (yum) Montreal bagels, Katherine’s Famous Bloody Marys – and the Sunday New York Times. We would each take our favourite sections – Sunday Styles, Travel and Arts for me; the front section, Sports and Books for Raymond; and the Sunday Review to whomever got there first – and quietly and happily pore through them as we enjoyed our meal.
And I miss that! Here at the Manse in Queensborough we can still make an excellent Sunday brunch (especially given that the bacon and breakfast sausages at the One Stop Butcher Shop in Madoc are superb, we can buy eggs fresh from the farm of our friend Harold Harris, and the white loaf at the Sweet Temptations bakery in Tweed makes the best toast ever), but we are seriously bereft of a proper Sunday newspaper to read while we enjoy it.
And yes, I know perfectly well that the New York Times is available online. But I don’t want to spill my scrambled eggs on my iPad, thank you very much. I want a big printed page that I can spread out on the table. Call me old-fashioned; I don’t care. I firmly believe that the Sunday Times is best consumed in ink-on-paper format. (For one thing, the paper helps absorbs the egginess of my spills.)
So my next mission is to get the Sunday New York Times delivered to Hastings County. People, this is a challenging mission.
Early on in our time here, we discovered a weekday copy of the New York Times for sale at the Mac’s convenience store in Madoc. Thrilled, we asked the clerk if they had the Sunday Times too. The news: yes. But not on Sunday; on Monday. And worse: since then the Mac’s store has stopped carrying the Times altogether.
Since we’ve been here full-time, I’ve been inquiring of people who are avid readers of news whether they know of anyplace in Hastings County that has the Sunday Times. I don’t hold out much hope for the area north of Highway 7 (where we live), but I rather think that the city of Belleville at the south end of the county is big enough that the Times could and should be available there. And for the luxury of having the Sunday New York Times on Sunday, I would happily drive 45 minutes to Belleville.
So today Raymond went on an investigative journey. He drove in to Belleville, stopping first in the downtown core and then going hither and yon all over town, asking at bookshops and a cigar store and pharmacies whether they carry the Times or know anyplace else that does. The upshot: one Shoppers Drug Mart that has the weekday edition; but the clerk he spoke to was highly doubtful that it comes in on Sundays. (Be assured we will be following up with some inquiries to the store manager on that front.)
What to do, people? Is the answer to open our own newsstand? Hey, Raymond’s retired now; and lord knows there are lots of shopfronts for rent in downtown Belleville. We could bring in newspapers and magazines from all over North America and beyond (The Guardian! The Boston Globe! Down East! Arizona Highways! The New York Review of Books! The Montreal Gazette! Architectural Digest! Paris Match!), and maybe sell new and vintage books too. And in fact, Raymond found what I think is just the place today on Front Street, Belleville’s main drag:
What do you think? Does “Raymond’s Famous Newsstand” have a ring to it?