coincides with their own desires

 It''''s way past time for some catching-up, and for that I apologize.


Earl from Salemburg, whose last name I couldn''''t quite make out: This is inexcusably late, but thank you for the (handwritten!) letter relating your experiences with my banker dad,zebra 2844 who loved helping good, responsible people get up and running in life and in business. I hope you''''re proud of how far you''''ve come.


I also hope you got the same joy I did from time well spent along the Cape Fear - shared with owls, whippoorwills and the occasional cottonmouth. (Including the mosquitoes would put too much of a strain on my nostalgia; don''''t know about yours.)


I''''m going to share your letter with my 94-year-old mother this weekend.


Unsociable Media Department: This is for Ricky, who parks himself in my voice mail on Saturday afternoons because he''''s afraid he can''''t hold it together in real life: wall storage units Do as you please, but I hit the delete button the instant I hear that mama''''s-boy voice. You think I''''m a commie and I think you''''d be right at home with Mussolini. I know you''''re wrong, and maybe I am, too, but the bottom line is that your messages haven''''t reached anybody for a long time. I hope this helps. But I don''''t really care.


Geraldine Lowe, I agree with much of what you wrote about the trial of George Zimmerman, "a community watch person who didn''''t bother to ask Trayvon Martin his name" before pursuing him. I have a thought regarding your last line, "we are all created to be one people." That''''s what we are. It''''s just taking us a devil of a long time to realize it.


Hippie: Thanks for the support and for the constructive criticism regarding the column on spouse abuse. You''''re right: Way too little attention is paid to the children caught between the warring (and, usually, unevenly armed) parties. Sometimes kids are merely in the way, at other times they''''re surrogate punching bags, and they''''re often the gun held to some battered mother''''s head. What''''s consistent about it is that the kids never get to win.


Scott Badger, same column: Thanks for the support - not for me, but for those who need it most, the victims.


Betsy Lowe (Of course I didn''''t forget you; it was my that etiquette lapsed): Thanks for the bright response to a column on women''''s rights, and for some Susan B. Anthony wisdom I''''d never read before: "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."


A June 22 column,Food label "Thoughts on the costs of caring," drew a thoughtful response from an Old Nam Vet who related some of his experiences in war and, afterward, with "what they call today PTSD." But he was more interested in getting out the stories of friends and comrades who aren''''t here to tell their stories themselves.


Every time I hear from someone who actually walked that walk, I''''m reminded of two things: (1) how lucky I was to have been shuffling requisitions in Germany while it was going on, and (2) how hard it is for them to convey the enormity of what happened then and what''''s still happening inside them to listeners who want it all in a 15-second sound bite and who drift away when they don''''t get it.


These are important people trying to share important information, yet many persist in viewing them as an entertainment medium. We should learn to listen better.

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