If you’re out and about in southwest Pittsburg in the early morning, you’re likely to see Linda Brinkmeyer cruising the streets in her Nissan delivering The Morning Sun.

This wife, mother of three girls, and homemaker arises at 3:30 a.m. to roll papers, pack them in her car and crisscross the streets and yards porching them (all 200) to start her day. Her weekday that is.

Weekends it’s a mother-daughter affair with 15-year-old daughter Alisha joining her to share some “quality time” on the quiet streets of town.

It all started in June of 1999 when Alisha decided to pick up a route of 125 customers and mom decided to join in.

That summer they rode their bikes. “We just enjoyed the time being together,” they both told me.

“Besides,” her mother said, “it was good exercise.”

Indeed.

But most moms I know get their “good exercise” in aerobics class or on a Stairmaster — not riding a bike and throwing newspapers in the half-light before sunrise.

And not with their teenage daughter.

When school started in the fall of 1999, the route (with an additional 75 customers added) was too demanding for Alisha to handle during the week, what with early band practice and all (she plays flute), so mom parked her bike and started delivering on her own in the car. On weekends they delivered together.

It worked out. They completed a year last June, delivered together again through the summer and resumed the mom-on-weekdays, together-on-weekends routine when school started.

What does Alisha like most about the job? “The money (Most all of the income goes ... toward savings for college and clothes.) ... and spending some time alone with my mom.” The least? “Getting up at 3:30.”

What does mom like most? “The quiet of the early morning ... and spending time alone with Alisha. We also get to enjoy nature. We’ve seen deer on Georgia Street and also some fox around town.” The least? “Getting up at 3:30.”

One can’t help but be reminded of a time, not that long ago, really, when ours was a largely agricultural society and mothers and teenage daughters spent the whole day together working and talking; getting to know one another as the teenagers grew into adults. Likewise fathers and sons. No doubt we lost something precious when we lost those times.

What’s in store for the Brinkmeyer mother-daughter team in the years to come? “I’ve got a girl in the first grade right now and I’ve been a stay-at-home mom ... but by next year, I’ll be getting a full-time job,” Linda said.

Alisha? Likely she’ll give up the route.

But the memories and the connections will always be there.

And who knows? In a few years when Linda’s youngest daughter gets old enough to have a route ...

September 27, 2000

If you have a paperboy story to share, you can send it to me at jtknoll@swbell.net or 401 W. Euclid, Pittsburg, KS 66762. — J.T. Knoll