Letters: Totenberg Carols, Ballet Class, Pinkwater

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Scott Simon reads from listener letters and e-mails.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Coming up, the symphonies of Aaron Copland. But, first, it's time for your letters.

(Soundbite of typewriter)

SIMON: Nina Totenberg's featured rendition of "Silent Night" on our show last week sparked a torrent of emails, many good, some bad, some ugly. Toni Piagi(ph) writes, I came in from shoveling just in time to hear Nina Totenberg singing Silent Night. Thanks for putting a touch of magic of the season I remember from childhood in this old atheist heart. But, Tina Aber(ph) says, It's hard enough for Jewish children and adults, for that matter, who come from families who don't feel it is appropriate to celebrate Christmas to have a respected, intelligent and influential person tout her personal decision to acquire a Christian holiday. While I commend Ms. Totenberg's openness in her ability to see the beauty in a truly lovely holiday, it is a celebration of Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

Well, my personal essay about my daughter, Eli Simon's(ph) recent ballet performance evoked this memory from Mark Campbell(ph). Scott's reflection swept me back almost a decade to a time when I wrestled our 6-year-old daughter into ballet attire and delivered her to a short performance for the parents of the children in her ballet class. It quickly became clear to me something was wrong. Molly's arabesques and plies utterly lacked the coordination and scope of her peers, and her balance was off almost all the time. Switching rapidly to paranoid parent mode, I mentally enumerated at least six pediatric neurological disorders from which she could be suffering, along with two or three genetic syndromes. It took the subsequent arrival of my wife to clarify the problem was not my daughter's coordination, but rather her father's. I had managed to deliver our daughter to the performance with both legs inserted into one hole of her tutu. I am delighted to report that Molly's recovery was immediate and complete. Mine, however, is still very much ongoing.

And Jerry Frielick(ph) enjoyed Daniel Pinkwater and myself reading from James Thurber's "The 13 Clocks," but he took issue on a point. He says, I was surprised that you treated it as a children's book. And that Daniel Pinkwater didn't state the obvious - that it is one of those classics that is way too good for kids. My parents read me the book in the 1950s when it first arrived as a book of the month club selection. My sister and later, our boats were named in honor of Sara Linda. I still have that one volume on my shelf, and it is truly one of the most gorgeous gems of recent literature.

Well, we welcome your comments here. Just come into our Web site, npr.org. Click on contact us. You can visit our blog also at npr.org/soapbox. Just show up here someday at the studio, sit on my lap, you're always welcome. In any event, please tell us where you live and how to pronounce your name.

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