Thanks goes a long way

Published 1:04 am Wednesday, July 17, 2013

About 10 percent of the phone calls I get describe in vivid detail how I have slandered the good name of an innocent man (and more often than not, woman) wrongfully arrested for some misdeed.

So, generally speaking, when people drive to the newspaper office to meet me, it doesn’t end on a positive note.

Case in point – after one of the stories printed on the misdeeds in River Falls printed last year, a man came to voice his displeasure on, and I quote, “that pack of lies.”

So, when our office manager called me up to the front desk, saying there was someone who wanted to meet me, I had to steel myself. After the Monday I was I having, I knew it couldn’t be good.

I’ve never been so happy to be so wrong in my life.

She spoke of her late husband, whose obituary we were kind enough to print, she said, and how much he loved getting The Star-News “way up there in Missouri.”

She said that every Wednesday, he’d pull open his paper, flip to this page, and read this column. She said he loved to read about my family, what was happening here and everything that made Covington County uniquely home.

She said that since she had to come by the office to pick up her papers, she just had to meet me.

As I listened to ask questions about my girls, my hometown and the like, I marveled as I realized the power that I assume each time I put words to paper. It’s the same power each of us holds when we give our thoughts and feelings freedom.

Our words have the ability to bring happiness and laughter and sadness and anger to those around us, and it doesn’t matter if those words are printed or voiced, whispered or shouted.

So I ask you – how will you use your voice to impact someone’s life today?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “…to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children…to leave the world a better place…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

When my children are grown (after all what column would this be if I didn’t mention my children) and I’ve retired, I want to look back and say I succeeded.

So, here is my good deed for the day: it is with heartfelt gratitude that I say, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Jack Hartzog, and Mrs. Helen, for reminding me of the responsibility I carry and that what I say, or better yet write, matters.”

And I say the same thing to each and everyone who reads The Star-News – thank you. I hope I made you smile…not drive down to the office or call to cuss me out.