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Venus has been amazing the last couple weeks. This morning the waxing crescent over the Absarokas was her muse and I was all in.

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It is spectacular, isn't it?

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Ha! After reading it, it is about places like Wawa. People get obsessed about them, here too. I wish I’d stopped at a Casey’s when I drove through Iowa. Next time I will.

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One of the other commenters mentioned Wawa and its geographical location and I thought of you! That's funny....

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Jan 29, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

I was ecstatic when the NPR announcer mentioned your name as a guest on the upcoming 1A show. Then I was late for an appointment because I couldn't get out of the car before the interview ended. You did a great job--didn't even sound irritable. 😆 All the guests articulated the pain of inappropriate place names in a way that will hopefully move the needle in the right direction and open some hearts to new ways of understanding.

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Thank you, Linda!

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Thank you for the poems. Also I enjoyed the radio piece, I’m glad you got to say “give it all back” on the air! Checking out the Convenience store piece now. In the Land of Wawa, we have a few “indie” covnenience stores nearby and I need to check them out. There was a little one that was half pharmacy half junk food where I used to live, that I liked when I needed medicine and weird Indian snack foods.

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My dude was looking for elk the other morning, as he does through the binocs from our place on Emigrant, and caught Venus in it's crescent phase -- found it in the telescope and we looked at it for a bit while drinking coffee. Sometimes things are good.

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Sometimes they are indeed.

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Jan 30, 2022·edited Jan 30, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Among all the goodness of that radio spot was getting to hear a national NPR correspondent say the title of your newsletter out loud 😀

There was just an article in the Daily Inter-Lake about an Indian couple (couple from India via Seattle) who are making and selling Indian food in the new Conoco station their kid and family runs in Kalispell. Even the big chains get their personalities and individual traits ... and reasons to go inside.

Excellent interview. You did a great job of pointing out that it's not just about one word and the biggest issues can vary across different regions. I was also surprised at some of the questions and comments, which seemed stuck in decades-old thinking. I guess there's still a lot of work to do :(

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Ha ha, yes, even if she kinda butchered the pronunciation of "Métis."

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She really did! Kinda thought they practiced that stuff ahead of time …

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You're right about the decades-old thinking, particularly from the audience questions. I think we take for granted a lot of the stuff we know out here in "The West" because we live it, even if it's an undercurrent for some people.

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Yeah, it really surprised me from the audience but I guess just because it’s thinking I’m not used to hearing anymore (in my little bubble). I like the way you and the other person turned the whole thing into a way to bring all of this and related subjects back to life for people, help bring them to the understanding that none of this is dead history that people can or should just move on from.

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Jan 30, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Aaahhh, thanks for the link to the Men Yell At Me essay! I read it and felt understood. Town Pump is practically the community center in Florence, MT (as it is in most small MT towns). Looking forward to hearing your interview on 1A!!

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I've been to that Town Pump!

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Jan 28, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Thank you so much for the link and for your words!

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I'm sure it won't be the last time.

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Jan 28, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

"I reflect on all the life out in the frozen dark, just trying to hang on, until morning" Wow. : )

And speaking of convenience store cults, if you ever meet anyone from the Delaware Valley, ask them about Wawa. You'll hear a 20 minute panegyric about how it's the best thing in the whole wide world. I grew up there, with Wawa as part of my daily life, and what she says about convenience stores being a place for everybody was certainly true of Wawa. They are a much bigger chain now, but whenever I go home they still feel welcoming in a weirdly nostalgic way.

And regarding offensive place names, I grew up believing Wawa was the Lenni Lenape word for "goose" (their logo is a goose). I have no idea who told me that or if it's even true. Not that goose is an offensive word, but who chose Wawa and why? I think that's the bigger question here--not what Wawa means but why that particular word, in whichever language it comes from? There are so few indigenous people living in the Delaware Valley now, but we still romanticize our relationship and history with them all the same. This is probably not how indigenous words/names should return -- as names for stores where people buy Cheetos and coffee.

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But those ARE two of the four food groups....

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Jan 29, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

True! Orange, Brown, Magenta and Jade.

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Jan 28, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

I always appreciate your writing, Chris. Thanks for the link to 1A program. I learned a lot and am inspired to seek out stories of place names where I live.

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Thank you, Iris, and thanks for listening.

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Jan 28, 2022Liked by Chris La Tray

Your photo of the Montana sky is exquisite. Thank you so very much for sharing.

I have not stopped at a convenience store in the Midwest but I have stopped at a Buc-ees in Bastrop Texas. Talk about everything under one roof!

Thank you Chris and have a beautiful week.

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Thank you, Melissa.

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Hello! Looking for directions and info on your upcoming workshop!

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Would this be the Yellowstone thing? Are you signed up already?

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Yes it is

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You should have received something from the Yellowstone Forever people. However, looking at the registrations, there is an "Olivia Chang" who began a registration on January 5th but didn't complete it. Is that you? If it is, I recommend contacting those folks on Monday to see what the issue is. I'm sending some preliminary stuff out today; I'll go ahead and include you. I hope to see you there!

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Thank you

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You're welcome.

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