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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.




COLUMN HITS CLOSE TO HOME
It has taken me a long time to respond, but I want to comment on editor Adam Pitluk’s April 1, 2012, Editor’s Note, “Time There Was.” I must tell you that it is one of the top three articles I have ever read on the avenues of life. Thank you for having the skill to write such a wonderful article about life changes, including the death of a friend. This is the anniversary of the death of my mom and older brother, and your article somehow saved me from the sadness that occurs when one suffers the inevitable losses that occur with the passing of time. Thank you again for the story.
Gregory Montegna, San Diego

EDITOR ADAM PITLUK RESPONDS: Your letter really hit home for me, too, Gregory. I wasn’t necessarily trying to say anything to anyone with that column; I was just in a somber, nostalgic mood and really missed my buddy. Your letter made me realize that the column helped people remember, which is the most important part of life, I’m learning. It’s making it count with the people you love while you have them. Your letter is making me stop to heed my own inadvertent advice.



MULTITASKING WITH AW
Several years ago, I was flying back from Mexico City on American Airlines (of course). A wasp had found its way into the main cabin of our plane. We were all seated waiting for takeoff. The wasp was flying around, and the passengers who had spotted it were anxiously keeping track of its whereabouts. I was getting comfortably into one of the good articles I always find in your magazine, but when I saw the wasp, I got very nervous because I am allergic to their sting. When I was a child, I ended up in the hospital after three of them stung me. Without thinking, I rolled up your excellent magazine and smacked the wasp, which had found a spot on the ceiling. I was lucky I hit it and it fell dead to the floor.

I was really focused on my task and was stunned when several of the passengers started applauding. All the way back to D/FW, your flight crew treated me like a king. Free margaritas and all. Thank you, American Way, for your excellent content and paper heft that helped me be the hero on that flight.
David Claudio, St. Louis

DESIGN DIRECTOR DAVID W. RADABAUGH RESPONDS: Anaphylaxis is serious business. Ask your doctor about epinephrine auto-injectors, and be careful out there.



PANAMA REVISITED
I had just taken my seat on the airplane, decided to peruse American Way and was surprised to see Adam Pitluk’s Editor’s Note, “Isthmus of Panama,” as well as the article “Growth Spurt” by Joel Stein (Oct. 15, 2012). I had just disembarked from a 14-day cruise through the Panama Canal and could relate so much to the comments and pictures. The trip through the canal is spectacular. It is such an engineering feat, a remarkable vision from 100 years ago. Just learning the history of the canal gives one an even greater appreciation for the transit through the locks. The best way to see the workings of the canal is to board one of the ships. Seeing mere inches on either side as the ship makes its way through the canal is spellbinding. At one hotel that bordered the canal, hundreds of waving spectators lined the balconies, adding to the excitement of the passage. Thanks for adding to my knowledge of the country and the canal. Someday I hope to go back, and I’ll be able to use your articles to decide what I will do and where to stay.
Patty Shields, Stayner, Ontario

ASSOCIATE EDITOR JESSICA JONES RESPONDS: I’ve spent a good amount of time in Panama because I have family who live in Panama City, so I was thrilled when we decided to feature Panama as a destination. I, too, have sat and watched boats pass through the Canal — like you said, with just inches on either side — and been fascinated. The mixture of the old world and new is pretty astounding as well. I’m so glad you got to visit this dynamic country and that our article could remind you of your trip.



PEROT ROCKS
Like the Northeastern elitist that I probably am, I set out for Dallas with few expectations. I knew I would enjoy making a presentation at the National Head Start Parents Conference, held at the Gaylord Texan from Dec. 1-5, but I knew little about the city. Thanks to Chris Tucker’s delightful article “Thinking Inside the Cube” (Nov. 15, 2012), I made sure to visit the Perot Museum that opened Dec. 1. It is amazing! I hope other visitors, as well as locals, recognize the building’s architecture and the exhibits as remarkable achievements.
Eve Sullivan, Parents Forum Founder, ­Cambridge, Mass.

A.P. RESPONDS: The Perot Museum is new to the Dallas skyline, but it’s already an important ­fixture. Glad you enjoyed it. And y’all elitists come back and see us yokels, y’hear?



SEASONED TRAVELER

My 5-year-old son, Reagan, has been AAdvantage Gold for the past three years and proudly keeps his three gold cards in his wallet. In August, he really racked up the miles with trips to London, Boston, Phoenix and Los Angeles — not too bad for someone who is not yet a business traveler. On our last trip, while reading American Way, Reagan saw he could write a letter and be entered to win 100,000 miles. I explained that this was fairly enticing because the miles could help him buy his next trip or even upgrade to the “bed seats” (as our sons call them). The translation of his letter: “I love American Airlines. I have my own Gold card. I flew home fron (sic) Boston on my birthday bubt (sic) my favorite trip was to London for the Olympics. Reagan, 5.” After writing the letter, however, he said: “Mom, if I win the 100,000 miles, can I trade them with you and you will buy me the Epic Dragon Battle Lego set?”
Riva Graeme, Dallas

MANAGING EDITOR TRAVIS KINSEY RESPONDS: We love this note from Reagan. It sounds like he is well on his way to being one of our most experienced and decorated AAdvantage members. The fact that he’s come so far when he’s only 5 is even more remarkable. Knowing that he noticed our miles-for-letters promotion is even cooler. That shows he’s not only a seasoned flier but a loyal and attentive American Way reader.



EXCELLENT VARIETY
On my first trip alone on a three-hour ­nonstop flight, I did not want to take with me any work-related reading, so this gave me the opportunity to read American Way’s Sept. 15, 2012, issue. Compared to other magazines on other airlines, I dis­covered that your magazine was not merely of cheap-advertising content. Reading yours, one can feel the quality and the effort spent both in editing and the elegant publishing of such a masterpiece. I really enjoyed the variety of well-selected topics, especially learning about Quito, Ecuador (“Brief: Go”; the story instigated a future vacation trip), “Lincoln Logs” and “The Ghosts of Big Bend” (both educated me on our great country). Keep up the good work.
Makram Murad-al-Shaikh, Highland, Calif.

J.J. RESPONDS: We do take pride in being not just your average in-flight magazine, and we always strive to find the biggest, best or most worthwhile celebrities, destinations and trends to feature.



IN A GOOD PLACE
Rob Britton’s article about “placefulness” (“Places in the Heart,” Nov. 15, 2012) reminds visitors that there is more to any point on a map than the simple shorthand seen on TV or the uninspiring view from the freeway between the airport and the hotel. I’m intrigued by the attachment we feel to places we know well from our past or our dreams. As Britton wrote, have you ever visited someplace and felt an unusual, unexplainable connection to it? Have you longed for a vacation to a particular destination that you know only in your heart? Have you returned to a place from your childhood and found the familiarity of the air, the light, the smells and the sounds deeply satisfying? It isn’t wanderlust or nostalgia. I’m thinking that it’s placefulness.
Kim Johnson, San Francisco

ASSOCIATE EDITOR JAN HUBBARD RESPONDS: Rob’s article touched a nerve in a good way for many people, and it certainly makes you stop and think about the connections that you mentioned.



NICE MEMORIES
Perusing American Way after a great weekend in Las Vegas, I noticed the photo of the Flagship Detroit aircraft tucked in on the bottom of page 6. Did that bring back memories or what? I grew up in Venezuela, where my father was stationed in the 1950s. We used to fly DC-3s from Maracaibo across the Caribbean to Miami and finally into our destination of New Orleans. I can remember climbing up to our seats when boarding and nearly falling out of the plane as we struggled to keep our feet while disembarking. What good fun we had in that old “tail dragger.” Thanks for bringing back good memories.
Lou and Denise Soileau, Rayne, La.

D.W.R. RESPONDS: We love those old DC-3s so much that we include a picture of one in every issue. Thanks for noticing. We’re happy we could help remind you of great experiences.



THE BOOM RESONATES
I appreciate that American Way interviews actors and informs readers about new movie releases. There was an intriguing interview with Henry Winkler (Oct. 15, 2012), the Fonz from Happy Days, about his latest movie, Here Comes the Boom. In the interview, Winkler talks about overcoming academic struggles and the value of arts in education. As a teacher of students who struggle with academics and the English language, I decided it might be a movie worth seeing. American Way, you were in sync with the music in recommending this one. This story about a teacher raising money as an amateur boxer to save the school music program is a strong message wrapped around humor, cultural diversity and American dreams. The music in the movie, like Neil Diamond’s “Holly Holy,” will take everyone back to happier days. Winkler’s character in the film got it right when it was apparent that he was not going to win, but he said the reason we fight is because “that’s what we do as teachers. Inspire.” Thanks, American Way, for sending me to see a great flick and reminding me why I teach.
Jean Burke, Tucson, Ariz.

J.J. RESPONDS: I was so touched by your letter. To think that an article we ran — and a subsequent trip to the movies — could reinforce your reasons for being a teacher is something we appreciate, but it’s also humbling. It’s really we who should be thanking you for the tireless and important work that you do.



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.