Why I Like American Way…
Wisdom and balance.
Sylvia Toro, Miami

Editor Adam Pitluk responds: Why I like Sylvia Toro … steady directness.

I thoroughly enjoyed executive senior editor Chris Wessling’s Sept. 15 “Editor’s Note” about Vegemite. It made me smile.

I am a born-and-bred Aussie, and I cannot imagine life without Vegemite. After reading that story, I almost drooled all over the page. I couldn’t wait to get back home to have a ‘Sanga.’

I was wondering if Mr. Wessling has been able to taste it yet? Life is not complete till you have tasted it.
Alyson Jennings, Drysdale, Victoria, Australia

Executive Senior Editor Chris Wessling responds: I have to admit that I chuckled to learn that Vegemite triggers a Pavlovian response in you. Wow! What’s in that stuff?

I have yet to enjoy the full, life-altering Vegemite experience, but I have started looking into flights to Sydney. Somewhere near the opera house, there’s a Vegemite sandwich with my name on it.

The Fight
I recently read the article on the sisters and their next-door neighbor, all three surviving and thriving while enduring the horrendous effects of cystic fibrosis (“The Fight of Their Lives,” Sept. 15). Tears filled my eyes as I read the article about the tremendous amount of courage these young ladies have. I was overwhelmed. I also felt a sense of pride reading the article, as I work for the company that is developing the two new treatments for CF that were mentioned in the story — VX-770 and VX-809. It is a tremendous privilege to be involved in this wonderful journey to, hopefully, have the opportunity to be involved in the launch of these new treatments for such a horrible affliction on the youth of the world.

It is fantastic to read that these three ladies do not let this disease stop them from enjoying and living life with enthusiasm, while also setting a wonderful example for us all. Life is short; live it to the fullest! Fantastic story.
Troy Jordan, Fort Worth, Texas

Author Robert Sanchez responds: I’m honored that my story touched readers in the same way that meeting these women profoundly? touched me. From Piper’s matter-of-fact ?attitude to Sam’s quiet confidence to Libby’s bubbly outlook, I found that the essence of these women’s spirits can be found deep within all of us — we just have to find it. To them, I say, thank you for your courage and your fight. And thank you for sharing your story with me.

I like Pecans Too

Recently I was traveling from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Boston for business. My meeting went long, so I had to rush to the airport to catch my plane. Just before I boarded, I stopped by one of the kiosks that sell nuts.

I grabbed a bag of pecans to eat on the flight. I was the last person to board, so I quickly rushed to my seat. I took off my jacket, threw my newspaper and bag of nuts in the middle seat and sat down.

As I prepared for the flight, I conducted? my usual routine and quickly grabbed the bag of pecans while I started reading the most recent American Way. Just as I flipped the first page of the magazine, the woman in the aisle seat began staring at me. Being courteous, I looked at her and smiled. As I continued reading American Way, I put the bag on the middle seat … just then, the woman reached down, grabbed the bag and started eating them … I couldn’t believe she was eating my pecans! As soon as she placed the bag down, I picked it up, clutching them a little tighter, and ate a few more nuts. Once again, the woman looked at me in a strange way. She grabbed the bag and amazingly finished the last few nuts. Before I could say anything, she stood up and went to the bathroom, leaving me amused and horrified at the same time.

This was definitely the most surreal experience that I had ever had on a flight. We eventually deplaned, and as I arrived at my car in the parking lot, I reached into my jacket pocket for my keys and what did I pull out? The bag of nuts. Just when I thought that this was going to be the best story ever about the “crazy” lady that had the nerve to eat my food without asking, it was me who was the “crazy” person that she would tell her friends and family about. I guess I should take this time to apologize (you know who you are). If I ever see you again on an American Airlines flight, the nuts are on me.
Richard A. Mika, Parkland, Fla.

A.P. responds: You can’t be serious. This is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. So she just gave you dirty looks and didn’t bother to ask you to kindly stop eating her pecans? Unbelievable! You need to go buy someone a bag and pay it forward.

Impulses We Attempt To Strangle Develop Stronger Muscles
Editor Adam Pitluk may not be as funny as he wants to be, but he’s funnier than he thinks he is (“Editor’s Note,” Oct. 1). On the way back from (literary) jury duty in Oklahoma for the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, it was good to decompress with your magazine. Reading the many interesting pieces throughout got me wondering: Why don’t you interview a poet or carry literary tidbits?
Yahia Lababidi, Silver Spring, Md.

A.P. responds: Thanks for the compliment, Yahia. Coming from someone with such a command of the language as yourself, I’m honored. We’ve had Maya Angelou on the cover before (Nov. 15, 2008). But you’re correct: We do need more poetry in these pages.

After a bored half-hour on a cross-country flight last week, I pulled out the Oct. 1 issue of American Way and boy, what a fabulous voyage you took me on!

You took me from the southern mountain town of Asheville, N.C., to antiquing in Milan; treated me to Roger Ebert’s memoir and the thought-provoking ?Reimagining Japan; reminded me with “In the Pink” of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and dropped me off with a lovely visit to an island in Nova Scotia. Wow, American, you’re the best!
Rick Goff, Birmingham, Ala.

Project Coordinator Betsy Semple ?responds: We love to hear from our readers, even more so when they take the time to add such flair! We pride ourselves in reaching out to as many corners of the world as we can in each issue.

Game Time
On my most recent flight to Dallas, I was seated next to a mother and her son. He looked to be about 7 or 8 years old. As the mother was reading American Way, her son seemed to be getting a little bored. So, the mother said to the son, “Let’s play a game.” She then proceeded to explain to her son how the game would work: She would give him the name of an object, and he would have to try to locate the object in the magazine (for example: a chair, a skyscraper, a lamp). The son loved the game, and the mother was able to continue reading while he searched through it for the various objects.

American Way may seem like a grown-up magazine, but watching this little boy made me believe that someone of any age can enjoy the magazine. Parents, you may want to keep this game in mind for your next flight with your children!
Angela Mialky, Pittsburgh

Senior Editor Anna Fialho responds: That sounds like a very creative game. It pleases us to think that we could be a learning tool as well as an entertaining read for our passengers.

Your Inspiration
I fly many different airlines, often without any reading material or other entertainment. Without a doubt, I think that American Way provides content perfect for everyone.

In the Oct. 1 issue, you wrote about one of my favorite actresses, Jane Lynch. It’s inspiring to hear stories of American ?persistence, truly speaking to the true American way and spirit. As a young entrepreneur, this message resonates with me.

I hope to read more inspiring stories on my next flight.
Martin Shen, San Francisco

Design Director David W. Radabaugh responds: Jane Lynch is pretty terrific and the best part of many of my favorite comedies. Good luck in your entrepreneurial ventures. And thank you for letting us entertain you.