The good stuff |

The good stuff


Peggy Sanders

Oral, S.D.

A typical wintertime job is sorting through paperwork. Now I am not a packrat but an archivist. Supposedly the difference is the archivist knows just where the certain paper is, even if it’s in one of the piles on the desk. Not that this theory always works.


As I toiled away today a folder that I named “Good Stuff” was next in line to review. When I read something that particularly speaks to my heart, I clip and save. I read them for inspiration and edification. I’ll share some with you, along with the credit to the writers.

Jan Robbins Elder, Boone, N.C., was visiting in our area when her dog ran off and it took a week to find him. During that week she was impressed enough by the reception and help she got, that she wrote a lengthy letter to a regional newspaper. This was back in 2010. Excerpted here, she wrote: “Anyone concerned about the fate of this country should spend time here. You people are productive, open, honorable, friendly, helpful, instantly empathetic and ruggedly handsome … This week in your Shangri-La has restored my faith in America.”

Terry Woster is a South Dakotan who grew up on a farm. He and his two brothers are writers who often reminisce about their growing up years. Terry wrote, in 2010, “I’m sure I probably said I would never farm for a living. That wasn’t because I hated it. It was because farming frightened me. I don’t need riches or comfort, but I crave certainty. Farming is for people willing to work their tails off without a clue whether their work will be destroyed overnight in a windstorm or just before harvest in a hailstorm. They raise cattle never knowing if the calves will live through the spring blizzard. They raise enough food to feed half the world, never knowing if the market will recognize their effort enough to let them break even, much less pay down a bank note. I admire that spirit. I just always knew I didn’t have the courage to live that way.”

Lest readers think that South Dakota is provincial, there is this, apparently written by Old Anonymous. “After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, New York scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.” Not to be outdone, a California archeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after a story in the LA Times read: “California archeologists, finding traces of 200 year old copper wire, have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the New Yorkers.”

One week later the Sioux Falls (South Dakota) Argus Leader reported the following: “After digging as deep as 300 feet in his pasture near Sioux Falls, Lamoine Young, a self-taught archeologist reported that he had found absolutely nothing. He concluded that 300 years ago, South Dakota had already gone wireless.”

Keep that smile on your face; it looks good on you. ❖

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