The mailbag (or inbox) builds Farm and Dairy family ties

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By Susan Crowell / editor@farmanddairy.com

Cleaning out files in my old office uncovered the many ways your words have touched us here at Farm and Dairy over the years.

There was this 2012 hand-written note sent in with a renewal check. “I have been a reader since a teenager, enjoying it even while in the Army from May 1959 until returning to the land of my youth at the end of April 1961 (mail call was a treat for this old timer).

“Your articles have softened bumps in my life as a chemical operator for 50 years.”

And we’ve always known our readers are among some of the most generous in the world, but we can prove it, too. In 2013, the readers who won our Christmas subscription sweepstakes, wrote a thank-you note, adding, “Winning the $500 just made our holidays even more merrier. We were even able to help out a family of four whose house had burned down. The cheer was spread around!”

In 2000, we lost the source of our crossword puzzle. Finding a replacement proved to be quite challenging, and you let us know it, as one Pennsylvania reader told us, “one reason for getting the paper is to work the puzzle. Better get a better kind!”

“I used to love doing your puzzles,” wrote a Strongsville, Ohio, reader. “Now, I hate them… I don’t like weird clues or names of people from who knows where.”

“What is with the June 22nd crossword puzzle?” wrote another reader. “Baseball, baseball, baseball, baseball, hockey, college basketball.”

“Keep looking!!!!” And the writer included a frowning face by her signature.

We did, and hope we never have to go through that challenge again. Lesson learned.

You’ve also shared stories through our “Vacation With Us” feature photos. Like Mike and Beth Kennedy, of Thornville, Ohio, who sent us a vacation photo from Hawaii with Brian and Barb Fortune, of Lorain, Ohio. The couples didn’t know each other, but struck up a conversation at the Honolulu airport luggage carousel over the John Deere bandannas the Kennedys used to mark their suitcases (Brian is an IH lover).

Turns out they were on the same cruise ship, so they hung out together — and both couples had brought a copy of Farm and Dairy to take their vacation pic. The four took their photograph together — strangers who were now friends.

I remember a similar story from a reader (the names are long gone, sorry) who was somewhere in Europe, posing to take his Farm and Dairy vacation photo, when someone rushed over and said, “We love the Farm and Dairy!” and the two strangers had a great, serendipitous conversation about the paper and agriculture a continent away from home.

Then there’s the reader who gave us this brief comment recently. “My husband guards the mailbox on Thursday and I don’t see the paper until two days later. We love the Farm and Dairy!”

After Farm and Dairy’s 75th anniversary open house in 1989, Pearle Burlingame, of North Lima, wrote this in a note to me: “I believe the Farm and Dairy subscribers are all family. We learn to follow their activities through the paper, and even if one doesn’t know somebody personally, we think we do just by reading the Farm and Dairy.”

Pearle’s right, and we think of you all like family too, and love hearing from you. We wish we could talk to each subscriber, each reader, and simply say thank you.

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