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This blog is a tribute to my late father, Jim.
He was a printer all his life, first at Parker Brothers Newspapers in Ahoskie and then at The News & Observer. For many years, he was foreman of the N&O composing room.
Those were the days when newspapers were produced with hot metal type. Each column on each page had to be filled. On news pages, short items were used as filler. On advertising pages, especially the many classified-ad pages in those days before the Internet, the composing room used house ads promoting the paper.
On snow days, Dad would make up an alternative set of filler ads. They came in all type sizes, column widths and lengths. They all said the same thing: “Feed the Birds.”
When you opened your paper in the morning, you’d find them on every page. Sometimes two or three a page. “Feed the Birds.”
I like to think that millions of birds across Eastern North Carolina ate on those cold, snowy days because of Dad.
So this morning I stopped by Ace. Everybody else was in line with ice-melt and snow shovels. I got a big bag of bird seed. Tomorrow, when the ground is covered in white, we’ll throw out the seed. We’ll be rewarded with a colorful fluttering of wings. The dogs will go crazy at the door. The birds will thank Jim, and I’ll think of him.
Feed the birds.


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