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Some time ago, while in discussion with a contemporary of mine, we somehow got on the subject of second childhood, the mental ailment that afflicts many of us folks of an advanced age.

During the discussion, we both allowed as how we might be suffering from the early stages of the malady.

We agreed that, upon attaining advanced age, we had reverted back to some of the habits of our childhood.

That was confirmed when, later, after digesting one particular day’s edition of the Napa Valley Register, I came to realize that from the time of my youth, eons ago, to being a seasoned citizen of today, my Register reading routine had gone full circle.

To explain, I was an adolescent when my family moved to Napa some 76 years ago. From then to now, the Register has consistently maintained its rightful place as my hometown newspaper.

As a youngster, I remember opening what was then an afternoon edition of the Register and going first to the “funnies.”

After thoroughly digesting the antics of Alley Oop, Major Hoople and Li’l Abner and the citizens of Dogpatch, I read reports of the progress of the Allied cause in World War II.

After the war, and while attending Napa High School, my Register reading routine changed. I still went to the comics first but then I searched for news of the local high school sports scene. To me, as a teenager, the local and world news was boring. My activities and friends at Napa High were my total universe.

In the early 1950s, as a young male adult, I entered the U.S. Army and spent the next 20 years on military assignments at home and overseas.

During my military service years, in the 1960s, I became a Register correspondent and sent weekly dispatches from duty assignments in Vietnam and then West Germany.

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During many of my military years, I received the Register by mail. By the time I received them, the world news they contained was outdated and the comics lacked continuity. Only the local news interested me. I scoured every page, even the classifieds, for anything and everything that pertained to my hometown and the people that lived there.

After retiring from the Army and returning to Napa to live permanently, I became involved in the community. My Register reading routine then centered first on local and then national politics. I had no interest in the comics.

Now, in my later, later years, I have an interest but no involvement in political news and I read the comics. So, after reading the obituaries to see if I had crossed paths with any of the decedents or their families and reading the medical advice column to see if it may have plausible explanations for some of my aches and pains, I read the comics.

I feel like I have gone full circle with the Register — comics of then to comics of now.

The Napa Valley Register has played an important part of my life for over seven decades. Still does.

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Jim Ford can be contacted at: