Occasionally we write some particularly meaningful commentary that touches readers so deeply they are moved to respond. Well, one did about a year ago, but I seem to have misplaced that letter. It's much easier, and causes less strain on the tree population, to respond via e-mail.
It also saves on postage. And spending too much money to send letters is exactly what causes inflation.
Anyhow, it has occurred to me that sharing some of the more poignant responses with regular readers of this column, all six of you, could shed some light on what folks in rural America are thinking.
For instance, a recent commentary on the evils of February sent shivers through several readers. A (former) friend in Minnesota wrote:
I think you're getting to be an even bigger wimp than I remembered. (I just read “Did he mention he doesn't like Feb.”) You really need a dose of Minnesota in February. Then you'll have something to complain about. We had 20-degree wind chills just a few days ago. It's quite bracing and makes one truly appreciate those balmy 30-degree days. Try to stay warm.”
As I've told you before, the only reason people live in Minnesota is as punishment for heinous sins committed in a former life.
Another reader was more sympathetic.
Charles McDowell of the Richmond Times-Dispatch had a theory that the year actually begins in September, when summer is over and kids go back to school and things generally start up again, so that February is actually the mid-point, and hence the lowest point, of the year.
Richard L. Lobb Director of Communications National Chicken Council Dear Richard,
Finally someone understands. But how/why do you communicate with chickens?
I also discovered that I am not the only lost soul to have misplaced myself in the Opryland Hotel.
I have attended meetings at the Opryland regularly since it first opened. I just enjoyed following you on each step of your “journey” through the delta and onwards to the convention center. I was following you because even after numerous visits there to conventions and other meetings, I still do not have a clue how to navigate efficiently its miles of winding, twisting corridors and it was comforting to follow someone just as lost as I always am.
Tennessee Farm Bureau And y'all thought I made this stuff up.
Mr. Smith: (He obviously mistook me for an adult.)
Just read your column in the Jan 10 SW Farm Press. I empathize with your confusion at Opryland. I was there for a National Cattlemen's convention in 1995, and just recently got out. The last morning of the convention, the hotel lost power. (Honest.) Couldn't check out in the lobby where I checked in. Had to criss-cross that awful place looking for the one lobby with a working checkout. Imagine my thrill when I learned we're getting an Opryland here in Grapevine.
By the way, your column is always the first thing I read in SWFP. You really are a gifted writer.
J. Wallace Communications
Finally, someone who appreciates great literature. And give my best to Aunt Ethel.
A few months back we tried an experiment, substituting the name Brownsville for Brownfield in a dateline, just to see if people were paying attention. They were!
Tell your editors that Brownsville, Texas, is in the Rio Grande Valley across the Mexican border from Matamoros. Brownfield, Texas, however, is in the South Plains, close by Lubbock.
Thought you might want to know before some irate Texan hurls a Ruby Red grapefruit (grown in the Rio Grande Valley) at you! You do good work.
Others caught the “mistake” too.
Please tell Ron Smith to ask Santa for a Texas map. In his article on South Plains farmers and their irrigation problems he taglines it “Brownsville.” If he wants to report on Brownsville, have him look up exactly where that town is in Texas!!!
New Deal, Texas (located ON the South Plains, NOT EVEN close to Brownsville)
These folks have such an acute sense of humor. Ha ha ha.
Space prohibits publishing all the e-mail we get. (I could probably find two or three more if I spent a few hours looking through archived files.) But these heart-felt responses should provide food for thought for our more intellectual-minded readers.