Columnists > Mailbag


Letters from our readers

Issue: "Remembering 9/11," Sept. 10, 2011

"Orphaned no more" (July 30)

As an adoptive dad of two Ethiopian sons and a daughter on the way, thank you for your in-depth, balanced, and well-researched article on the challenges and joys of international adoption. Within the Ethiopian adoptive community, much of the last six months has been filled with speculation (and panic) about what the Ethiopian government may or may not do. Thank you for clearly stating current policy and trends.
Moody Alexander; Arlington, Texas

"A visitor's guide" (July 30)

I deeply resent this column, which portrayed some correctional staff as stupid and mean. Andrée Seu's well-intended offer of a box of Ziploc bags is the typical beginning of a "con" that could eventually force innocent people to serve the inmate in other ways. As a prison chaplain, I have required visitors and inmates to sit separately in Sunday service because that was how drugs were smuggled into the prison. We trust no one but always watch for the con while at the same time treating all with respect and dignity.
Lester F. Polenz; Mansfield, Ohio

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Seu mentions the meanness of some prison guards. As an inmate myself, I think her description is dead-on; they treat our visitors as criminals. My father experienced it until his death at age 93. My thanks for seeing that a man in prison is still a man.
James Doyle; Bowling Green, Fla.

Texas prisons are a little more "customer-friendly." We visit someone (now a member of our church) a couple of times a year and have never been denied, but we have made several trips to our car to leave "contraband" such as a comb, chapstick, and a handkerchief. The most unnerving experience is passing the sign that says "No Hostage Zone." The non-contact visits through a glass with bad phones get tedious over four hours, but they are heaven-on-earth for the prisoner. We are so blessed by these visits that we are eager to return.
Dave Troup; Lee's Summit, Mo.

"Smashed violins" (July 30)

Having played the violin for some 45 years myself, I was delighted with Joel Belz's "Smashed violins." The boorishness of the "Nazi critic" was evident to anyone who knew and understood Heifetz's artistry and genius. I marvel at the extraordinary musical gifts God bestows.
Marcus Van Ameringen; Marietta, Ga.

While a master may be able to produce a wonderful performance on a cheap fiddle, the same piece played by the same master on a Stradivarius or other well-made, seasoned instrument will be ineffably more beautiful. And when a student violinist graduates to a good instrument, his "playing ability" improves immeasurably. I was a mediocre high-school violist, but when my teacher allowed me to play her hand-made instrument, suddenly my parents imagined I was actually practicing and improving.
Lyn Mellone; Salinas, Calif.

"Film school" (July 30)

This column has encouraged me to push down the nagging feeling that my children are pariahs because of my anti-cultural, ridiculously old-fashioned shunning of video games and the latest i-Phone-Pod-Pad gadgets in my home. Just as a fish doesn't know it is wet, at times parents are unaware of how wet we are with our culture. We've considered getting a Wii because the whole family could use it, but we never did. Instead we have Friday pizza and movie nights that everyone looks forward to.
Dana Cowherd; Nolensville, Tenn.

The essay about the moral lessons contained in some of the '40s and '50s Westerns was a joy to read. Not being an elitist, I totally enjoyed the new version of True Grit. This column reminded me of three pre-1948 Westerns that I think are well worth the time: The Ox-Bow Incident and My Darling Clementine, both with Henry Fonda, and one that surprised me, Destry Rides Again with James Stewart.
Jerry Bonsall; St. Albans, Vt.

"Misfeasance" (July 30)

I wonder, does the smell of money cover the odor of dead babies? I cannot imagine that a politician, who is elected to express the will of the people in his district, could accept blood money and go against the wishes of his constituents just to have the wherewithal to get elected.
Doris Heyns; Cape Coral, Fla.

Quick Takes (July 30)

You state, "No one knows exactly the last time a white buffalo was born," but a quick internet search revealed that a white buffalo, or bison, was born in Janesville, Wis., in 1994. She attracted much attention and prayers and was said to be the fulfillment of prophecies for some Native American groups. It's a reminder of how lost our world is.
Michele Harn; Brooklyn, Wis.


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