Letters: Olympia Dukakis, Pete Earley and Baseball

We received letters this week about our interviews with Olympia Dukakis, Pete Earley and Zack Hample on Watching Baseball Smarter. And our story about the popularity of American country music in Kenya prompted a confession.

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(Soundbite of typewriter)

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Time now for your letters.

(Soundbite of music)

SIMON: Many listeners were moved by our interview last week with Olympia Dukakis, discussing her role in a new movie about Alzheimer's disease, "Away From Her."

Elise Tollman(ph) of Atlanta commented on what he called the watershed moment in that interview when Ms. Dukakis began to speak about her own mother who suffered from the disease. For Olympia Dukakis, that moment came when she shared about a window of time when her mother, stricken with Alzheimer's, had a moment of clarity and connected with her daughter in a deep and spiritual way.

Hugh McLain(ph) of South Windsor, Connecticut, wrote: I guess, this is soft news but it made me forget to breathe while I listened to how real people bring compassion and care to their work - work that enriches their own lives as well as others. It is the perfect antidote for all the hard news stories that typically involved posturing, spinning or forgetting, instead of truth telling. Thank you for reminding us how real people live real lives.

Many others were touched by Linda Wertheimer's interview a week before with the journalist and author Pete Earley who spoke about his struggles to get help for his bipolar son. Ava Hayes(ph) of Eugene, Oregon, wrote: As the parent of an adult son who has a mental illness, it was extremely gratifying to finally hear an advocate speak for the mentally ill and for their caregivers. Mr. Earley clearly understands the frustration and heartbreak, the worry and fear we face daily as we try to help our loved ones help themselves.

Steve Colby(ph) of Raleigh, North Carolina, enjoyed the interview last month with author Zack Hample on "Watching Baseball Smarter" that happens to be the title of his new book. Hearing about how baseball wasn't always fenced-in reminded me of the time, decades ago, when a baseball game was played on an unfenced field next to a farm. A ball was hit into the gap and before the outfielder could track it down, a pig from the farm snatched up the ball and ate it. Considerable discussion ensued with umpires, managers, players and even the farmer. The play was finally ruled an inside-the-pork homerun.

And finally, Gwen Thompkins' piece about the popularity of American country music in Kenya prompted a confession by Lee Keeley(ph) of Ithaca, New York. Kenny Rogers at "The Gambler" was one of my all-time favorite songs too, because of the story it tells. Imagine that, an old song from my younger days has become something I have in common with the people of Kenya, a place where we could connect despite all other cultural, racial and economic differences. I love that thought.

Well, we welcome your thoughts, your emails and your comments. Just go to npr.org and click on Contact Us. And please, tell us where you're from and how to pronounce your name.

(Soundbite of song, "The Gambler")

Mr. KENNY ROGERS (Country Singer): (Singing) You got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, know when to run. You never count your money when you're sitting at the table. There'll be time enough for counting when the dealing's done.

SIMON: This is NPR News.

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