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Readers Respond to the December Issue

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That the parrot population in South America is being depleted by smugglers is a true crime against nature [“Wildlife Trafficking”]. Kudos for this disturbing but important exposé, which shows how nothing on this earth (apparently) is as important as the almighty dollar.
Ryan G. Van Cleave
Sarasota, Florida

Smuggling’s Roots
Wildlife trafficking breaks my heart, but it is also sad that it is oftentimes the traffickers’ only source of income. Unless the governments of countries such as Brazil work harder to improve their economic problems, this illegal business will continue to flourish and more animals will be placed in danger.
Paul Dale Roberts
Elk Grove, California

Puebla Export
Savoring Puebla” gives the reader great insight into that wonderful Mexican city. It also brought to mind a Poblano of international fame, Vicente Oropeza, the man who introduced the Mexican charro (cowboy) and his art forms to the world. In 1893, Oropeza joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders with whom, for more than a decade, he demonstrated the rope-spinning skills known as Floreo de la Reata, as well as the traditional skills of the charro. After he left Buffalo Bill, he continued to perform until his death in 1923. Oropeza was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City in 1975. He is buried in the French Graveyard in Puebla.
Don Mc Daniel
Sun City, Arizona

Court Gesture
The article on Handel [“Hallelujah”] states that the Elector of Hanover was Handel’s patron. Reportedly, there is more to the story. After Handel was appointed musical director at the Electoral Court of Hanover, the elector twice gave him leave to travel to London, the second time on the condition that he return “within a reasonable time.” But some two years went by and he remained in London. Handel, it was rumored, grew worried when the Elector of Hanover was appointed King George I of England. Some musicologists feel that when Handel composed Water Music, an accompaniment played for George I during a boating party on the Thames, his true motivation was to get back into the king’s good graces.
Norman Chapman
Calabasas, California

Victory for the Vimy
information in the brief article about the R34 dirigible [“Special Delivery”] requires clarification. Less than a month before the R34 became the first dirigible to make a nonstop trans-Atlantic crossing in July 1919, the first-ever nonstop trans-Atlantic crossing was made via a fixed-wing Vickers Vimy biplane, possibly a World War I surplus. Two former Royal Air Force men, Capt. John Alcock and Lt. Arthur Brown, were attempting to win a £10,000 prize that had been offered by the Daily Mail since 1913 for the first such crossing. A very rough landing on June 15 outside Clifden, Ireland, brought fame and winnings. A sealed mailbag from St. John’s, Newfoundland, provided proof of the trip.
Frank Moran
Loves Park, Illinois

Visiting Rockwell
While in Massachusetts on business, my uncle, Austin Watson, learned where Norman Rockwell lived in Stockbridge and stopped by [“Mr. Rockwell’s Neighborhood”]. Mrs. Rockwell answered the door and sent him around to the artist’s studio, saying her husband would be glad to see him. Austin said the brief meeting was like two friends catching up. Austin had a baseball autographed by Jack Dempsey, Richard Rodgers, Mickey Mantle and others. Mr. Rockwell signed it too. It’s on display in the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, where Austin was on the Board of Trustees. It would appear Mr. Rockwell’s folksiness was not an affectation.
Malcolm Watson
Hideaway, Texas

Correction:
Special Delivery” misstated the California base of the company Airship Ventures. It is Moffett Field, not Napa.

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