My mailbox here in rural Nebraska is pitiful. We’re talking cobwebs and crickets, my friends. I can’t recall the last time I actually received mail. Sometimes I forget to check it for a week and then with a sense of hope and promise I go to the mailbox only to realize there is nothing more than a Shopko flyer and an AARP membership form that was meant for my father. I have even resorted to opening my junk mail. Thank you for thinking of me Charter and yes, I will consider bundling my cable, telephone and wireless. I will keep you posted and thanks for the note.

That’s why it was such a shock to see “fun mail” grace my mailbox! It’s been so long that I forgot what it felt like to see something addressed to my name. It was a letter from my cousin, Jane O in Maine and the beginning of her note read, “I have been thinking of you lately”…

County Seat snail mail letter

Is there anything better than a greeting of that nature? She went on to write about reading a blog post I had written about the lost art of correspondence and felt inspired to put pen to paper. How lucky was I to be the recipient of that effort.

Jane O (O’Rourke) is my Mom’s cousin. Her parents, Phyllis and Bill O’Rourke were my Godparents; an easy religious appointment made by my Mom because Phyllis and my maternal grandmother were sisters. In Jane O’s letter, she wrote fondly of her love of correspondence. She spoke of how Phyllis and her sisters referred to letters as “readables” and how they were a common occurrence because news couldn’t travel fast enough for those Gallagher Girls. When distance separated them, whether it be Chicago, Minneapolis, Hastings or Holdrege, their lifeline was usually two cent postcards sent daily to highlight weather updates and family gossip. Notes were always signed with “Love” and usually began with the phrase, “I don’t know why I’m even starting this, I have no news.” It’s the all too familiar Irish Catholic philosophy of expecting someone to be disappointed before you’ve even begun.

Jane O wrote me about how her father typed her a letter every week when she was attending the College of St. Mary in Omaha. Phyllis wrote her every week as well. I love that.

I was excited to reciprocate Jane O’s kind gesture with the utmost care and thoughtfulness. First, I needed a really good card.

If you search enough, the options are plentiful.

“Fancy That” note cards by Russell + Hazel

County Seat Living snail mail stationary1

A modern chevron pattern in grey, black, gold and chartreuse created by waste not paper

County Seat Living snail mail stationary2


And a funny letterpress by the team at Belle & Union

County Seat Living snail mail stationary3

I finally decided upon a creation that is specific to our family roots…

County Seat Living snail mail stationary4

Jane O will LOVE this card!

With proper longhand I learned from my third grade teacher Mrs. Sturtevant, I wrote out a note of thanks to my cousin…

County Seat Living snail mail stationary5

I sealed the envelope and then had to decide upon a stamp…

County Seat Living snail mail stamps1

County Seat Living snail mail stamps2

County Seat Living snail mail stamps3

A Johnny Cash tribute would be perfect…

County Seat Living snail mail stamps4

It’s now en route to Hallowell, Maine, the “gem of the Kennebec”…

County Seat Living snail mail envelope2

Thanks for thinking of me Jane O!

FYI: My mailbox is currently accepting all forms of correspondence. Please contact me for an address.


Scott Rager

Robert Scott Rager is a Nebraska native who returned home to start a boutique business called "County Seat Living". His personal goal for "County Seat" is to translate the lifestyle design he was creating in Los Angeles for the past twelve years and apply it to the sensibility of the Great Plains. Whether he's writing about decorating, homemade ice cream, floral creations, event planning or product design, he wants the personality and style of Nebraska to shine bright.