Ode to Horton Foote and The Trip to Bountiful

Horton Foote, who died yesterday, was most known for writing the screenplay for the movie To Kill A Mockingbird. Foote also wrote The Trip to Bountiful, perhaps one of my all time favorite movies.

Originally written as a play, and then as a screenplay, The Trip to Bountiful is a traveler’s story about those who are traveling in search of a new life and those who are traveling to go home, even though home may not exist as we remember it.

There are wonderful scenes between Geraldine Page’s and Rebecca De Mornay’s characters as they ride on a bus through the Texas landscape. Here is a trailer for the movie that has a bit of those scenes.

In this article about Horton Foote’s life in The New York Times there is an interesting piece of information that also seems poignant. Foote is credited with opening the doors of the theatre of the King Smith School in Washington, D.C. in the 1940s to everyone, making this the first integrated audience in D.C.

Airfare watchdog’s survey of how much would you pay to fly without kids?

In her New York Times travel column “Motherlode,” Lisa Belkin recently wrote about flying with children. She titled it, “The Less-Than-Friendly-Skies.”

As a person who once traveled with babies and young kids (according to her bio, her children are now teenagers) Belkin has sympathy for people who travel with children and mentions those who have problems with children on planes as “crotchety.”

It’s not that she isn’t sympathetic to the plight of those who don’t have kids with them who are on an airplane with folks who have brought their kids along, but she tends to feel more for the parents who have the kids–and the kids. She recalls the days back when airlines gave kids pilot wings and flight attendants had the time and energy to treat kids like special passengers instead of more work.

Belkin cites a survey at airfarewatchdog.com where people vote according to their travel preference when it comes to money and kids. How much money would you pay extra for a flight that doesn’t allow kids on board?

At this point, only 38% would not pay more for a ticket. The higher the dollar amount, the lower the percentage would pay the extra cash. 20% would pay $10 more, but only 9% would pay more than $40. (For survey, click here.)

And who would those people be? Belkin thinks it’s parents with young kids who would like to take a flight where they could actually have time to read a magazine.

Detroit is on the list of must see places

Yesterday when I was at a friend’s house for Christmas dinner, I was talking to a friend of my friend about Detroit. She used to live there and said that when people told her there was nothing to do in this city, she took issue. She found there was plenty to do and, as it turns out, she has company in her thinking. The New York Times has come out with a list of 58 places to see in 2008. Detroit is number 40.

The Motor City Casino Hotel, formerly a Wonder Bread factory that’s been artfully turned into a lodging, eating and gambling establishment that opened this fall, and the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) are part of the reason for the kudos. The DIA just opened after a pricey renovation. One thing that caught my eye about the art museum is the Brunch with Bach series that happens the second Sunday of each month. Food is paired with various musicians from Michigan and elsewhere. Every Friday night the museum is open until 10 and there is free music as part of the visit.

The Web site visitdetroit.com lists loads of attractions that can keep a person busy. Whether you like African American history, historic houses, like the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House, music, botanical gardens, the zoo, there’s something for everyone’s flavor. One place I’d like to go to is the Detroit Historical Museum run by the Detroit Historical Society. Currently, one of the exhibits is on the 1920s building boom. Maybe Detroit, like Cleveland will be able to make some bucks on the tourist dollar. That would be nice.

Golf Love: In Afghanistan and More

Thai writer Pira Sudham wrote a short story once about a farmer who lost his rice farm to a golf course developer because he didn’t understand the terms of the contract. I can’t remember which book the story is in, but for anyone interested in understanding the lives of Thai farmers, Pira Sudham is an excellent place to start. Monsoon Country is the novel that marked his literary success. After reading Sudham’s story, one of my students at the time, a 10th grader at the Singapore American School, said that he would never look at golf courses in the same way. When a guy I once worked with said that he loves golf courses in Asia because they have the best views, I almost choked and kept myself from shouting out, “Haven’t you ever read Pira Sudham?”

However, there is one golf course in Asia that I just read about in a New York Times article by Kirk Semple, that I so want to succeed. In Kabul, Afghanistan, one man started the Kabul Golf Course three years ago in anticipation of its success. The golf course business has not gone as well as he had hoped for, but he refuses to hang up his clubs for good. The course is a symbol to him that things will get better in his country. The description of the currently grassless golf course reminded me of a golf course I went to in Jos, Nigeria with a banker that I stayed with as part of a Rotary Club exchange program. Instead of the greens, it had the browns. I don’t think my friend who likes golf courses would have liked the view from that one all that much. Personally, I was happy to see that water wasn’t being wasted turning the brown to green. In Afghanistan though, a little green wouldn’t hurt.