by Sarah Squires, Editor-in-Chief, Winona Post
When I was in my 20s, I worked at a couple small newspapers in Western Minnesota. At the second, I routinely wrote columns and editorials that featured my photo. I distinctly remember the first time someone I didn’t know approached me, arms outstretched, and gave me a hug.
“You don’t know me,” she said, pulling back to look into my eyes, “but I read all your articles, and I feel like I know you.” She introduced herself — a regular contributor to our letters to the editor section as well as press releases; I recognized her name. “Gosh,” I said. “I feel like I know you, too.”
There are so many of you out there, names I can place among those who volunteer at community events or those pictured grinning in donation photos. Maybe I loved your letter to the editor five years ago; maybe I remember you speaking from your heart at a public hearing. No matter how I may have come to know about you, there are so many of you I feel I know and respect, even if I don’t necessarily recognize you in the checkout line. I know you, too.
I have received hundreds of cards over the last few difficult weeks. So many of them include those words: “I feel like I know you,” or “We have never met....” Maybe you have suffered a tragedy and know that while no one knows what to say, the act of trying is what helps. Many of you included letters, poems, Bible verses, stories of heartache and strength and survival.
I think we all try to count our blessings when the holidays are upon us, but I have definitely spent many hours these past few weeks running up and down a long list. I have an amazing, loving, wonderful family; my friends have leapt tall buildings to be by my side. I have Winona, my tiny forest house full of memories, and I have you.
I know you, too.