Bradshaw Neighbors: Once a month the News-Times travels to area towns to find out what is interesting and unique to that community.
This month’s featured community is Bradshaw.
BRADSHAW — Since 1979, Cheryl Dye and her mother Lena Dye have braved snow, dog bites and ice-induced falls – all to bring Bradshaw’s residents the York News Times.
Cheryl’s newspaper carrier days started early; she said she can remember getting up with her father, now deceased, to get Lincoln and Omaha papers ready for delivery. After a hiatus, Cheryl and Lena decided to get into the newspaper delivery business again.
The women have their morning set up like clockwork: it all starts at 5:45 a.m. – that gives them time for a bowl of cereal and glass of orange juice for breakfast. The papers arrive for bundling, and Cheryl brews Lena a pot of hot coffee.
Promptly at 7 a.m. – weather permitting – Cheryl, Lena and a pile of newspapers get in their blue station wagon to begin the route.
Bradshaw village clerk Stephanie Metzger said the two ladies and their station wagon have proved dependable, also delivering the “Bradshaw Beat.”
“They do whatever they can to make sure you get your paper,” Metzger said. “Cold and rainy – they’re still doing it.”
As the pair has perfected their routine, they’ve noticed their customers’ habits as well. “You can count on who leaves around here,” Cheryl said. “You pretty much know their routine. If they don’t move [their paper] in four or five days we know something is wrong.” The mother-daughter team also watches for tracks in the snow – or lack thereof – indicating whether someone has been home.
If something is out-of-the-ordinary, Cheryl and Lena do their best to make sure everything is OK, at least with a knock on the door. Best-case scenario, the customer just went on vacation, but there have been times customers had serious problems.
Thankfully, Cheryl and Lena deliver much more than newspapers and the Bradshaw Beat to Bradshaw homes. “A lot of them [customers] are elderly,” Cheryl explained. The ladies try to make sure they’re taken care of. “That’s something I enjoy,” Lena said.
The community takes care of Cheryl and Lena, too. “They’re good to us,” Cheryl said. “If we need help or something they’ll come help us.” The ladies noted that they have been blessed with a lot of kindness. “We got a big surprise last year,” Cheryl said. An unsigned card arrived, containing an extra tip for the ladies. People are also thoughtful enough to offer tasty treats, and the community pitched in when their home had no heat or air conditioner.
The women try to reciprocate. “If they need help they can ask us,” Cheryl said.
Beyond socializing, getting up early means that Cheryl and Lena get glimpses of Bradshaw others might miss. “I’ve seen comets come through,” Cheryl said. “We enjoy going out of town seeing the wild turkeys, dear and horses,” she added.
After 30 years of building relationships and getting to know their home town better, the ladies realize they’re aging; Cheryl’s knees are bad, and Lena has macular degeneration and a bum leg resulting from a dog bite.
“There’s someone in the family who wants us to quit,” Cheryl said.
Still, mother and daughter keep their routine – and the irreplaceable relationships they’ve made in the community.
National Newspaper Week 2019 is Oct. 6-12, and recognizes the service of newspapers and their employees across our nation. It is sponsored by Newspaper Association Managers. International Newspaper Carrier Day closes the week on October 12.