Letters: Winter Songs; Boarding School For Overweight Kids Melissa Block and Lynn Neary read emails from listeners.
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Letters: Winter Songs; Boarding School For Overweight Kids

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Letters: Winter Songs; Boarding School For Overweight Kids

Letters: Winter Songs; Boarding School For Overweight Kids

Letters: Winter Songs; Boarding School For Overweight Kids

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/143727515/143729058" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Melissa Block and Lynn Neary read emails from listeners.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's time now for your letters.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DER LEIERMANN")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing in foreign language)

BLOCK: For our series on winter songs, we heard yesterday from celebrated dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones. He chose the song, "Der Leiermann," or "The Hurdy-Gurdy Man," from Franz Schubert's "Winterreise," or "Winter Journey."

For Jones, the music evokes a painful memory from his childhood of seeing his father walking through the snow 10 miles to work.

BILL T. JONES: I love him so much for getting out there that day with no car and really not talking to us about it, not complaining, just facing it alone. I love him so much, but did I ever tell him I loved him? Probably not.

BLOCK: Well, many of you professed your love for that story. Terry Williams(ph) of Ann Arbor, Michigan, writes: It demonstrated the power of art and the power of radio.

And Robert Lamborne(ph) of San Antonio, Texas, writes this: Outstanding. I know I'm not the only one who stopped, frozen by the power of this interview. The music, the story told, the subjects discussed, the insights illumined. My life is richer for Mr. Jones having shared these few minutes.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Also this week, we heard about a boarding school for overweight children in North Carolina. In that story, we mentioned that, because of the school's policies, you won't find any buttered cornbread, pork barbecue or huckleberry pie. But North Carolina native, Elizabeth Thompson(ph) of Durham wants to know, what huckleberry pie? She writes: I've never seen it offered in a restaurant or on the table at a church picnic. I don't even know what a huckleberry looks like. While this may seem like a quibble, the mention of huckleberry pie perpetuates regional stereotypes, reinforcing images of quaint bumpkins living in Mayberry. We don't eat huckleberry pie - really.

BLOCK: Well, for a second opinion, we turned to Bill Smith. He's the chef at Crook's Corner Restaurant in Chapel Hill.

BILL SMITH: Well, I have to agree. I mean, I don't take the regional umbrage that they took, but I have to say that I don't think that we have those here.

NEARY: We also checked back in with our own reporter, Karen Grigsby Bates, to find out why huckleberry, to which she offered this very personal answer: I used to pick them as a child when I spent part of many summers with my maternal grandparents in Charlotte. They had several huckleberry bushes in the backyard. They're kind of like blueberries but smaller, and they make great pies and very good jam.

BLOCK: So one huckleberry mystery solved, but Bill Smith of Crook's Corner Restaurant has another that's long had him scratching his head.

SMITH: That stupid thing in "Moon River" about my huckleberry friend has always given me pause. I don't know what that's supposed to mean, so it goes with pie, I guess. They go and have pie together somewhere.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MOON RIVER")

ANDY WILLIAMS: (Singing) My huckleberry friend. Moon River...

BLOCK: No matter what you're serving, we'll always have an appetite for your letters. Please just go to NPR.org and click on Contact Us.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MOON RIVER")

NEARY: And this is NPR News.

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