The centennial celebration of the Index-Journal continues. Younger than the New York Times, older than Time magazine, this newspaper is just as venerable as either, and, I truly believe, much less biased.

As the journalist Lara Logan has pointed out, most of today’s media representatives are blatant operatives for the left. Not so in Greenwood. Sure, there are many columnists in these pages who can set off the reader’s bull poop meter. Isn’t that the best way? Do you really want to read articles from only like-minded people?

Personally, I like to read it all: left, right, center, libertarian. Then, I hope I still have enough common sense to make an informed decision about issues. The Index has a great mix of columnists. I admit some are hard for me to read, but I get it; not everyone agrees with me.

Like most of you, I have my own peculiar habits. I’m up about 4 a.m., and with a first cup of coffee I scroll through Facebook, and then the two regional and two national newspapers to which I subscribe online. I also click on the Index-Journal website to see if there is a compelling story I need to read right away.

Then, about 5 a.m., I walk out to the street to get my freshly printed copy of the Index-Journal. We have been blessed for nearly 25 years now with efficient newspaper carriers. A late paper is a rarity.

Back at my desk, with that second java, I read the paper with relish. That’s how I start my day, just like my daddy, back in Iva. He was not an educated man, being a sharecropper’s son, but every morning he read his Bible and the Anderson newspaper, just like he did minutes before he passed away in 2007. It is not a bad habit to have.

There live among us those who think everything in life, including the news, should be a free ride. It’s pretty to think so, isn’t it? I’ve read far too much Hemingway. Reporters need to be paid. Newsprint is expensive. I can’t even imagine what the margin is for a newspaper these days. Even the online operations cost real money, and there is tremendous competition for advertising dollars.

In other words, we get what we pay for. I like holding the physical newspaper in my hands. I also like looking at the bookings report in the online version. Yes, I am nosy. Do you want to know what is going on in your neighborhood? What’s shaking in Columbia? Interested in the latest tax hijack by your elected officials? Well, you won’t find this information on Yahoo, the New York Times, or the Huffington Post. You’ll find it in your local newspaper.

Folks, I am long in the tooth and have been around a while. I’ve lived in places – thanks, U.S. Army! – where I could have the New York Times, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun and San Francisco Chronicle delivered to my door. I paid for them. There was no internet, just newsprint and a lot of ink. As a jackleg writer, I appreciate the Index-Journal publishing my occasional rantings. My opinion isn’t much, but at least it’s local.

And, as a reader, I appreciate being able to walk out to the sidewalk every morning at 5 a.m. to retrieve my newspaper. After 66 years of living, I can’t imagine having to alter this habit. I’ve seen many things I love fade away, like local bookstores, church hymnals and church choirs. But, on those mornings in the dark when I retrieve my paper, sometimes spotting a family of deer running around in the neighborhood, I somehow have a sense that, maybe, all is still right with the world. Or, at least I can still read about it.

Steve Maxwell resides in Abbeville and may be contacted at pista3132003@yahoo.com