Smith tossed news for four decades

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 27, 1999

J.C. Smith developed a mean hook shot while never leaving the front seat of his car.

For 40 years he sent The Natchez Democrat flying through the air to land eventually on someone’s breakfast table.

&uot;I roll and drive and throw all at the same time and throw out of both windows,&uot; said Smith.

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When most people were busy dreaming, Smith rose before the sun and set out to throw 600 newspapers, then he went in for a full day of work at Premo Stallone.

&uot;I was just starting in the air conditioning and refrigeration business, and I needed some extra money. I had a friend ask me if I wanted to ride with him and after a couple of days, I got my own route.&uot;

Now retired from delivering newspapers, Smith’s first route covered Homochitto Street and the Homochitto Addition, Lower Woodville Road and Cloverdale.

And in 40 years of driving those roads, Smith’s seen more than just the odometer turn. When he started his route, the paper cost 85 cents a month, and since then he’s seen 11 circulation managers come and go.

&uot;I’ve seen some good days and bad days. One morning on Lower Woodville, it started to rain and when I turned in the driveway, I just got into some azaleas. I had to pay for them.&uot;

&uot;He’s gotten bitten by dogs and he’s even had papers thrown back at him,&uot;said Christine, his wife who often ran the route with him.

&uot;One morning he went down there to deliver his papers and The Democrat had burned down.&uot;

&uot;I turned the corner that morning and saw smoke. The closer I got the more smoke I saw. The Democrat had burnt to the ground.&uot;

About 18 years ago Smith bought an old white Toyota Corolla for $300 to use for delivering papers.

Every time he stepped on the gas peddle, the car made an unusual humming noise.

&uot;A lot of people got up to the sound of that old white car,&uot; said Christine. &uot;When we gave it away people called and told us they were sleeping in.&uot;

And in 40 years, Smith has only missed 4 months of work and that’s when he was recovering from a heart attack.

&uot;After I started throwing the paper again, all my aches went away.&uot;

Smith recently retired and gave up his route to the boy next door- literally.

&uot;I told him I would help him any way I could,&uot; &uot;because they’ve depended on us for 40 years,&uot; Christine added referring to the Smith’s customers.

&uot;I’m just dedicated to work. I’m not going to slow down, I can’t sit down. It sure does seem funny to go and pick up your paper after delivering it for so many years.&uot;

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