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Lakota Country Times

The warmth of a hand written letter

One of the benefits of working here at the Lakota Country Times is, it never gets boring! A few days ago I opened my email and there was a message from New Zealand! A lady there really likes our paper and took the time to tell us about it. (Both of us have the same opinion of the paper, and both of us are sitting in front of computers in zero degree weather.

Of course we're both sitting cozy "inside" with the heat on, (at least I hope she is, because I certainly am.) With my arthritis there's no way my fingers would obey me if they were forced to type outside. They barely obey me inside when it's warm. Thanks New Zealand for the kind words!

Another surprise…. a phone call "and" an email from a lady in Alaska. She inquired into advertising "and" selling our paper in her store. What a coincidence…hearing from two people reading our paper in colder weather than South Dakota!

Another coincidence… last week's cartoon talked about our "Eskimo cousins in Alaska".

When I emailed my response to Alaska I told her I hoped she had a good sense of humor because two days prior to her call I'd done my first cartoon about Alaska. Apparently all is well, because she still wants us to mail her 10 papers each week.

Looking through our snail mail each week gives me hope that the written word (written on real paper with a real pen or pencil) is not dead yet, despite the popularity of the internet. Don't get me wrong, we enjoy hearing from you folks out there in internet land and please keep those stories and opinions coming.

I just have a soft spot in my heart for the handwritten letter. I suppose it's old fashioned, but getting a personally addressed envelope in the mail has its own appeal. When you hold the letter in your hands, knowing someone far away took the time to buy a stamp and the effort to mail it from the post office ..... well it just seems special.

Amanda and I enjoy any and all the correspondence we get, whether snail mail or email. It helps us remember that our readers do care about our paper and the issues they find in it each week.

Last Friday, Amanda and I sat in our office while the snow fell and the wind blew and our cars didn't want to come to work.

We both tried to make phone calls to various people in schools and tribal offices across the rez but could get no response. We had to remind ourselves again that Friday was a tribal holiday and that no matter how many calls we made, there would be no answer on the end of the line.
We both started laughing and asking ourselves once again…did we both make the right decision to leave good reservation school jobs with paid federal and tribal holidays?
Is it worth it working at a job where your only paid vacation is the week you stayed home because you were too sick to drive?

Our answer, once again, was yes! It's worth it to have the freedom to speak our minds and print what's on other people's minds. And besides, working at the school never brought me emails from New Zealand and Alaska. It only happens here in the trenches.

Connie Smith-Blanco, Oglala Lakota, is co-owner, business manager and marketing director of Lakota Country Times. She has pursued a music career in Oklahoma, Tennessee and lived near her sister in Texas, and after 30 years moved back to her roots in South Dakota with her children.

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Lakota Country Times, Newspapers, Martin, SD