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100,000 Aadvantage miles for your thoughts.
We enjoy hearing what you think about the magazine — so much so that if your letter to the editor is published in a 2012 issue, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win 100,000 AAdvantage­ miles. Want a chance at the miles? Simply ­e-mail your thoughts to us at ­editor@americanwaymag.com.





A LEARNING TOOL
In the Nov. 15, 2012, issue of American Way, the theme that was evident was connection: connection with holiday traditions, connection with history, connection with the global human family. I chewed on the truth that our differences can unite us rather than divide us. As an Episcopal priest, I used the example of American Way as part of an adult-education class to get people thinking about what unifies rather than divides us. Even in the most unlikely places and situations, when we have an open heart and step out of our comfort zone there is the possibility that connection will overcome isolation. Given that there’s so much attention given to what keeps us separate as human beings, I was richly fed by the notion that whether I’m in Brady, Texas, or having Thanksgiving in Las Vegas or celebrating Chinese New Year in Taiwan, I belong to the whole human family, and that’s a main course worth celebrating.
Rev. Marion Renee Miller, Monterey, Calif.

EDITOR ADAM PITLUK RESPONDS: Everything we do at American Way, Rev. Miller, is geared toward making the world a little smaller and bringing the global community closer together. Thank you for noticing and for your note.


SPECIAL PLACE
As a fellow Minnesotan, writer, geographer and traveler, I found much I could identify with in Rob Britton’s excellent “Places­ in the Heart” article in the Nov. 15, 2012, issue of American Way. A lifelong resident of the Land of 10,000 Lakes, I could relate with Britton’s commentary on the deep ties that a geographic location makes with the human heart and the “pride of place” that develops. I enjoyed Britton’s thoughts about ways to connect with the people, places, food, music and geography of the locations we travel to. Two trips to Australia, in 2007 and 2008, helped me to connect with a place I had come to know only through film. As a journalist, I had the opportunity to speak with a variety of Australians on the bus, on the street, in restaurants and in their places of work. I returned home with a deep appreciation for the country’s distinct history, its people, their accents and their idioms, and the value of fresh salt-water fish. Thanks for the insightful articles. I thoroughly enjoy reading the magazine every time I fly American, and I always end up tucking it into my carry-on to read more fully when I return home.
Tim Drake, Saint Joseph, Minn.

And the winner is…


MASTER SGT. ANDREW SIGSTAD from Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, is the 2012 winner of the 100,000 AAdvantage miles for your thoughts drawing. His letter, entitled “A Simple Thank-You,” ran in the Oct. 1, 2012, issue of American Way.
WRITER ROB BRITTON RESPONDS: Thank you so much for your kind words, Tim, which resonated more strongly given your background and experience. I like your ideas about the ways that visitors and locals interact. To me, travel has always been focused on reciprocity, and all of us should strive to leave the places we visit stronger in all respects, not just financially.


VALUABLE REPLACEMENT
The year was 1987. The place was a little-known island called St. Kitts. I was just beginning a new job at an even lesser-known offshore veterinary school, and I was having a hard time understanding the West Indian culture. That was 25 years ago when getting to St. Kitts from Boston involved a jet to San Juan and then an American Eagle flight to St. Kitts. On my second trip, I came across an American Way article by Rod Davis, entitled “Fear And Loafing in the Caribbean” (Dec. 15, 1987). I kept the magazine and subsequently made every visiting friend, relative or fellow co-worker study Rod’s hilarious but accurate accounting of his weeklong vacation on St. Kitts and Nevis. In 2008, I somehow misplaced the original issue of the magazine and was at a loss to replace it after 21 years. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I wrote a letter to the editor of American Way with a distant hope of reacquiring Rod’s article. To my surprise, my wish was granted and a fresh reprint of the original article was quickly sent to me. A magazine is best measured by its editorial staff, and American Way is an outstanding magazine from cover to cover.
Roger G. Warren, VMD, St. Kitts and Nevis, West Indies

SENIOR EDITOR ANNA K. FIALHO RESPONDS: It was our pleasure to send you a new copy of that article, Roger. We hope you continue to share it with friends and family and that our future articles are just as enticing.


THINKING OF HOME
I recently took a flight from New York to Montreal and really enjoyed American Way, especially the article “A Weekend in: Quito, Ecuador” (Sept. 15, 2012). I’m an Ecuadorian who lives in Montreal, and I usually don’t take magazines from the planes, just to cooperate with the green cause. But this time I just couldn’t resist it. The article really took me to many of these amazing places you so well described. Thanks for sharing that.
Jorge-Fabricio Sánchez, Montreal

ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAN HUBBARD RESPONDS: We’re happy we gave you a little taste of home while you were in the air. You should also know that you can go to AA.com/americanway for digital editions of all of our magazines.


THRIFTY ADVICE
On one of my recent flights with American Airlines, I read “Resale, Resold” (Oct. 15, 2012), and I read it with gusto. I recently lost my job because of downsizing, and I am having difficulty finding a new job due to my near-retirement age. So I decided to look for ways to save. Your article was an eye-opener. With my phone navigator, I can now find all the thrift stores in my area or anywhere I happen to be. I will have patience and will inspect the merchandise carefully, but most of all, I will save money thanks to your informative magazine. What a great find.
Maria Schaeffer, Durham, N.C.

ASSOCIATE EDITOR JESSICA JONES RESPONDS: It was one of my favorite stories, too, Maria. I’m so very sorry to hear about your layoff, but I am incredibly proud to know that our article was able to offer you some solace and encouragement on a great way to save money — and maybe even make some too. I wish you all the best as you go forward.


COST-EFFICIENT
Each time I fly American, the first thing I do is buckle up, turn off my electronics and grab American Way magazine. There is always interesting reading. However, being an accountant, I went back two years and reconciled my parking and meal receipts, and with the coupons that I have clipped from this magazine, I calculated a savings of $583. I enjoy the reading but really enjoy the coupon offering.
Carolyn Garner, Dallas

A.F. RESPONDS: You’re a woman after my own heart, Carolyn. The only thing better than saving a few dollars is sharing your secret to saving those dollars. I’m sure the rest of our readers will appreciate knowing how much money they can save by using those coupons.


MANY GREAT PLACES
As a curious traveler and a resident of three continents, your Nov. 15, 2012, piece “Places in the Heart” was truly gratifying to read. It validated an idea that I have accrued over my traveling years: Cultural authenticity is all in the details. Whether it is social struggles depicted in giant murals, unique customs found in unexpected corners or the charming sounds of cable cars in San Francisco, a curious traveler can spot local identity from the most seemingly ordinary. It is precisely this type of “cultural snapshot” that is often times captured by American Way. In between the pages, one can find detailed depictions of vibrant streets or savory dishes that instill a sense of curiosity and an urge for adventure. They almost work like appetizers, warming up the senses for what is to come at our destinations.
Wen Shu, La Paz, Bolivia

A.P. RESPONDS: Very, very well stated, Wen. This essay was a departure from our usual fare, but our usual fare, as you correctly pointed out, is actually rather unusual. So this story fit right in.


A GRAND FUTURE
After a long flight from Los Angeles to Miami, I was glad to board an American ­Airlines flight to Barbados when I dis­covered Carlton Stowers’ column about grandmothers (“Homage to Heroes,” Sept. 15, 2012). I am not yet a grandmother, but I have many dear friends who are, so I live through them. I would often listen to them speak so lovingly about their grand­children. Ask them anything and out come the cellphones with photos and the iPads with videos. So I could understand what Stowers was saying in the column. But I can’t help wondering what kind of grandmother I will be. How do I balance the spoiling and the disciplining? And why should God entrust such young lives to my care from time to time? Will I be too old-fashioned? Will I overcompensate by doing all the things with the grandchildren that I did not get to do with my own son? One of my friends said to me that it was as if she had been given another chance to be a mother. All these questions enter my thoughts as I look forward to the day when my only son says that his first child is on the way. Perhaps I am a bit ahead of myself since he won’t be married for another three months, but I live with hope. I am, after all, the eternal optimist.
Merlene Hercules, Barbados, West Indies

J.H. RESPONDS: One of the most enjoyable aspects of Carlton’s column was that we all have grandparents, so we all could relate to what he was saying. All of us who are or were lucky enough to know our grandparents understand the special relationship that exists with them. And having grandchildren is one of the great benefits of getting older.


DETROIT PROUD
On a recent flight to Detroit to celebrate my Dad’s 80th birthday, I came across Stephen Jermanok’s surprisingly upbeat article on Detroit’s (ongoing) recovery (“Detroit Revival,” Oct. 1, 2012). I can’t tell you how much it made me look forward to being home again in Detroit, even though I’ve lived in Alaska for nearly 20 years. Knowing what a hidden gem of a city Detroit really is, it becomes weary hearing and reading so many negative things about a great — and struggling — American town. I wanted to extend a grateful and sincere thank-you for publishing that story and for helping others to know what incredible places and people (not to mention one of the greatest art museums in the country) Detroit still features.
Collette Costa, Juneau, Alaska

A.F. RESPONDS: We were tired of hearing people bad-mouth Detroit, too, which is why we decided it was time to really show the world that while Detroit may have taken a hit, you can’t keep a great city like that down for long.


VIVA AMERICAN WAY
I recently found a set of Elvis playing cards in a drawer at home and thought how amazing that Elvis lives on. Then I came across your article “Profit in Perpetuity,” (Oct. 1, 2012). How interesting to read about agent Mark Roesler, who represents deceased clients and their heirs. It helped me to understand how stars do live on. I also enjoyed the opportunity to read about other unique and out-of-the-way destinations reported on in American Way. With a daughter and two young grandchildren living in the Middle East, I find myself on American flying to visit­ them, usually two times a year. Occasionally I arrange to stop at other destinations, since I’m already across the pond. Your magazine informs me of some great places to visit I might never know about otherwise.
Jane Rowland, Bella Vista, Ark.

MANAGING EDITOR TRAVIS KINSEY RESPONDS: From celebrities who’ve passed on to those who are still with us to destinations near and far, we strive to cover a little bit of everything in American Way. We’re thrilled that you find the magazine so useful on so many fronts, Jane.