OK, why not?

I have this little Saturday morning ritual: I read the Boston Globe and then, as a little dessert over breakfast, I dive into the Grafton News.

My kids have grown used to my groans over the doglegs on the front page. Sometimes we play “who is in the picture?” on the school page — we once completely missed my daughter in a tiny two column photo of her class on a field trip. I sift for news in J. Walker’s column, count the unedited press releases, check out the police chief’s column and then steel myself for the true meat of the Grafton News experience.

Oh Kay Whynot. Why can’t I quit you?

Maybe it’s the lack of paragraph breaks or, say, the stylistic choice of never sticking to a single common theme. Sometimes there’s a delightful nugget of Grafton interest mixed in with ruminations about Cape Cod or Florida.

But what brings me to Kay Whynot — and here I give a girlish sigh — is the abuse. Is he going to bitchslap the owners of his hated “mini-castles?” Will there be a smug mention of a latte-sipping soccer mom on her cell phone while driving an SUV? Is his tweak of the week maybe, secretly, a message just for me?

Kay Whynot. You little flirt. Go ahead, treat me like a naughty girl, you bad-ass columnist.

Oh Kay Whynot. I long to dress like a woman for you. I’ll pick you up in my minivan and we’ll share a venti mocha frappuccino topped with two bendy straws — go ahead, just put the cup anywhere, the Honda Odyssey comes with plenty of cupholders for my pampered darlings, those ankle-biters who secretly plot to suck the money from your wallet by demanding up-to-date educational materials and a little elbow room in the hallways. We’ll drive to my McMansion and I’ll cook you dinner while leaning coquettishly on my granite countertops.

Darling Kay Whynot! You’ll pound out copy on a manual typewriter while I wait, breathless for your prose. I have my editing red pen uncapped, just waiting for that first break with accepted AP style. I carry those red pens everywhere, by the way. In my glove compartment, stashed in a bottom drawer. You never know when you’re going to need to correct a typo.

Oh Kay Whynot. Tell me more about the good old days before refuse like me moved to town. We’ll walk, hand-in-hand, through Grafton Common and pose like tourists for pictures in the gazebo. People will whisper and call us an odd couple. We know it’s our differences that make it love.

LOVE I say — wait, where are you going? You don’t think you can out run me, do you? What did I say? What did I do? We can make it work, can’t we? Who says a liberal chick and a Republican curmudgeon can’t make beautiful music together?

OK. Why not?

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10 thoughts on “OK, why not?

  1. Finally! – I have been waiting since you started writing this blog to say something about the horrible newspaper this town has!

    I grew up in very similar small town – and believe it or not, I still get that paper delivered to me even if the news is a week old. I have not lived in that small town for over 20 years! But, It’s still fun to catch up on who married who, who had a baby and what the local school sports teams are up to. Isn’t that the type of news that a local paper is supposed to provide?

    Ok, so throw in the local town meeting information every once in a while and of course the police logs, but reading Kay Why Not and his horrible comments made me stop getting the Grafton News. I just can’t bring myself to lay down those 2 quarters.

    I do believe he is a curmudgeon; a sourpuss or grouch – but from reading his column far too many times I think he has blue blood running through his veins and not red! If he was truly a Republican he would appreciate the growth that Grafton has experienced…and not disparage the lifestyle of many Grafton residents.

    I wish too that he wouldn’t hide behind an alias…I would really like to know who he is and meet up with him in Stop n Shop one day and really tell him what I think of his comments and see what he would do then???

    Anyway – thanks for your thoughts, I really enjoy reading your blog – and great word too, you made me use my dictionary!

  2. Which word, dogleg? It’s a design term for a story that doesn’t square off — it has “legs” that drop down to fill space. Very few papers use them these days, possibly because they cause cravings for Tetris (that might just be me).

    There are things I like about the Grafton News. They’ll print just about anything that’s submitted to them. They give anyone who moves to town a free six month subscription, which was very welcoming and neighborly. They have lots of local ads. They seem to want to be a “good news” paper, which is all well and good, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture of the town.

    But the whole jus’ folks welcoming feel is absolutely wrecked by the snide little remarks in the Whynot column and, occasionally Walker’s as well. On the plus side, both are EXCELLENT fodder for overly dramatic read-alouds at the breakfast table.

    They aren’t as fun as the food critic lady in a sadly defunct weekly we used to get in Northborough. She’d use up her Thesaurus describing the restaurant’s ambiance and she and her husband would order the same meal every time: if I remember right, it was always well done steak for him (and it was always too tough) and hot tea for her (but she only liked Lipton). We’d fight over the paper to mock the food column.

  3. I debate weekly whether or not I should cancel, and I fault the editor of the paper entirely for putting me in this predicament.

    I’d love for someone in one of those evil McMansions to invite Kay over for dinner…and show him that they are actual real people, living as best they can and trying their hardest to instill goodness in their little kids…. just as Kay did years ago. Kay needs to dig a little deeper, and get to know the Grafton he chooses to bash.

    Ultimately though, my feeling is that he so confused (perhaps envious) by what he sees in 2008 that his only possible moment of vindication will be a global melt down. Nothing less. He wants a return to the simpler days…like those of the 50s, or perhaps the Great Depression. The poor guy can’t quite crack out of his rut. And quite frankly, I think, Kay was feeling a nice buzz the other day when Lehman et al were spiraling down the toilet. Maybe he even cracked open a pack of smokes he had been saving and lit one up. Perhaps he took a nice long cold shower? So close Kay..so close..you almost had it.

  4. Kay, as written, doesn’t appear to actually spend a lot of time in town. I wonder at times if it’s just the heart of darkness inside Bolack’s “unofficial mayor of Grafton” persona.

  5. Having been a Grafton resident (and GN subscriber) for the past 21 years, I cannot say enough good things about the Grafton News. Kay Whynot is a Grafton “lifer” and his articles (AKA rantings) have been reviled by many over the years and I think he truly thrives on it. The Grafton News is a great way for local committees and organizations to get word out to everyone in town (especially those who eschew computers and the internet) and they provide an important community service despite the typos and runon sentences.

    I long ago gave up searching cars in the Stop & Shop parking lot, looking for the old man making notes about my driving or cell phone usage so I could confront him about his awful column.

    Accept the Grafton News for what it is – a small, local paper that provides a service to its community. Don’t like J. Walker or Kay Whnot? Don’t read them – or if you do, keep a sense of humor about it. Those good ole boys have their fans – like minded people who share their opinions.

    I’ll get off my soapbox now – Greater Grafton, keep up the great blog. Like Kay Whynot and those of his ilk, I don’t always agree with you but I do enjoy your writing!

  6. Kay Whynot is almost certainly not Charlie Bolack. Kay seems to spend a lot of time in Florida; Charlie does not. I personally think Charlie pens the J. Walker column.

    A few months ago, The Grafton News published this letter to the editor from an irritated reader. I clipped and saved it because I thought it was quite funny. In case anyone missed it!

    To the Editor:

    While reading about the recent retirement of a long-time staffer at The Grafton News, it got me thinking: hey, maybe Kay Whynot should do the same! He already spends his winters in Florida, so…

    …in the spirit of David Letterman, here are:

    Top 10 Reasons Why Kay Whynot Should Retire to Florida

    10. Get a first-hand view of what happens when space needs in schools are not met (e.g., Florida’s massive overcrowding and declining education quality).

    9. Plenty of other seniors to kvetch with about the price of a gallon of milk.

    8. Indulge your fondness for portable buildings in trailer-park heaven.

    7. More “relaxed” Southern “lifestyle” could translate into more “relaxed” writing “standards.” Use all the silly “quotation marks” you want!

    6. You’ll surely feel more at home in a red state.

    5. Enjoy Florida’s higher ratio of elderly-to-little nippers (as you so affectionately refer to our children).

    4. Flash that AARP card for the early-bird special at Morrison’s Cafeteria! (Be sure to pay with cash — only stupid or selfish people charge it, right?)

    3. Maybe The Grafton News will hire a real columnist.

    2. Without snow, you’ll only have one thing left to shovel.

    And the number one reason why Kay Whynot should retire to Florida…

    1. Our village will finally lose its idiot.

  7. After reading both of your blogs, I’m not entirely sure that we are not the same person or that I’m not waking up in the middle of the night to pen these entries. Between your job, your kids, your not-quite-what-you-imagined career path, and most importantly–your “love” of Kay Whynot, I finally realize that I am not alone in my love/hate relationship with Kay Whynot. I stopped getting the paper years ago because of him…but perhaps, like you, I should learn to read his column with humor rather than rage.

  8. Being a former resident of the North Grafton Perry St. ‘kids’ park and having found my actions show up in Kay’s column. I have a very solid conviction as to Kay’s identity having gone out of my way to walk my dogs all around and experiencing a very special fellow who threatened me with “You better not let your dogs sh*t on my yard….or you’ll be wearing it”. This fellow landlords a unit and owns a sizeable plot that he uses to house his 7+ vechicles, so its understandable his aversion to gas prices. And having been a resident of FL for 8 years I know he would be of much more use down there hunting down school bussing managers who design routes so kids have to cross roads.

    I do give the GN editor credit for placing Kay’s column across from Tasha’s sweetly optimistic column. I think its more telling that feedback is predominantly on bashing Kay’s comments than on praising Tasha’s. Is that because Tasha’s are more personal and not so approachable?

    On a larger scale, Grafton is going through a generational change, there are bound to be strong feelings. Has anyone seen the Mass evaluation on growth in the area that the realestate agents are pimping out to prospective buyers? It posits that Grafton is to grow obscenely. I take heart that there are conservative voices to retard any full speed ahead development that could turn Grafton into a Hopkinton, Westborough, or the ilk. I’m not saying that the likes of Kay consciously attempted to bring Grafton to where it is, rather these things happen simply by mistake; what I am saying is respect is due as their day is rapidly fading away.

  9. Sadly, the Kay Whynot column which graces our little town newspaper is an embarrasment to Grafton and its good people. I do not know anyone – literally, anyone – who does not share my opinion that the old fart, whomever he (she?) actually is, is a total flaming a**hole.

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