San Antonio, Texas – The hum of an 18-wheeler’s engine acts like a factory whistle, calling all newspaper carriers working for the Seguin Gazette to prepare to hit the roads.
First in line to load up on Schriewer Street one recent night was Debra Streetman, eager to put in the miles.
“I run two routes so usually about 150 miles every night,” she said.
For those who are counting, that’s roughly 39,000 miles that she racks up each year working five shifts per week during the overnight hours.
Streetman said a typical day on the job for her begins around 10 p.m. and ends before the sun comes up, usually not later than 6 a.m.
For the past four years, this retired nurse and former business owner has been delivering newspapers to homes and businesses throughout Guadalupe County.
She says her technique for hitting her target when tossing papers from her car is all in the wrist, although presentation also counts for a lot.
“Some use rubber bands to throw them. I like to put all mine in bags,” Streetman said. “I like delivering the paper, and I like to deliver it the way I would like to receive it.”
While out on the open roads, Streetman says, she often faces hazards, including deer running in front of her car and snakes crawling across the road.
“There are armadillos and skunks and raccoons,” she said. “You have to watch out for that out there.”
In times of loneliness on the roads, Streetman listens to the “good news” by way of her old gospel CDs.
She also stays connected to co-workers, chatting with them throughout the night on her cellphone.
What frightens her almost more than anything is the idea of being driven off the road due to technology.
“People are getting their newspapers online,” Streetman said. “It keeps us in business to deliver them but some people go online to read their paper now.”
Still, she said she is not losing sleep over the idea, although the job does keep her up all night.
Instead, she is in it for the long haul.