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09.28.11

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A Day at the Races

Terry Fautley's Open Mic piece ("Up in the Air," Sept. 21) is a perfect segue into what the Reno Air Races are all about. My father took me to the Reno Air Races for the first time when I was 12 in 1972. I have been attending as often as possible ever since. As you might imagine, over such a span of time you build relationships with fellow race fans. You see, the air races are not just another form of racing; you see the same people every year and make new friends. Over the years, I've met and maintained relationships with people from all over the United States.

After the accident this year, when my wife and I made our way back to our tent, we sat down and consoled one another while waiting for our friends. Somber as it was. . . when I saw Terry and his wife walk into camp, I walked right up to him and gave him a hug. No words were needed. The camaraderie at this event is extra-ordinary. Air race fans are a family.

Terry brought up very valid points, and I have a few to add. In any "sport" there is risk, even for the spectator. In baseball, you might get hit by a foul ball; in hockey, you might get hit by a flying puck; in soccer, the stands have collapsed. In motor sports the danger is more evident. All sorts of things have happened to participants and spectators alike. Cars hit the fence in NASCAR, and pieces go flying into the stands and people get hurt. Do they go to see another race? Of course they do, because they love the sport; it's part of who they are, part of their life.

The Air Races in Reno stared in 1964. This is the only time any spectators have been hurt or killed. Tragic as it is, we know there are risks, even for us. Don't take it away.

San Seibert

Hayward


Who Would Jesus Kill?

The execution of Troy Davis, despite the serious doubts about his guilt, leaves me saddened. More blood spilled. What it is it about the United States that leaves us committing legalized murder along with countries like China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan? The discrepancy between our rhetoric and our reality is stark. For example, many in this country say that we are and should be a Christian nation but often don't live in accordance with Jesus' teachings. Would Christ support the death penalty? Wars? Torture? No.

I'm not a biblical scholar, but I wonder if there's confusion between the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament God demands an eye for an eye and bids his people smite their enemies and slaughter them. Jesus is the antithesis of that: turn the other cheek, love thy neighbor as thyself. Would it perhaps be more accurate to say that those who call themselves Christian and yet support Old Testament values are not Christians at all? Then our policies make more sense.

My heart goes out to both the Davis and McPhail families. I don't believe either has gotten justice.

Moss Henry

Santa Rosa


Missing Ingram's

Back in the 70's, I drove by Jack Ingram's Chili Bowl on Old Redwood Highway every day on my way to bust tires at K-Mart Automotive. Sometimes, when I was flush with cash, I might splurge on some food at "Ingram's Eats."

I could always tell where Jack had pinched off the mold from the bread he toasted for me, by the round depressions torn into the surface of the toast. I always appreciated Jack's point of view on things, too. You had to, or you wouldn't get served any food. I could never digest the food he served, though. It was like he was just daring you to eat his food. In fact, he actually sold T-shirts that said "I survived the chili at Ingram's." Jack was good with words. "Survive"—that was pretty much spot-on. Now that Ford's Cafe in Sonoma is closed, and Jack is gone too, breakfast just isn't the same any more.

A true original, Jack Ingram was a Sonoma County all-star. It didn't matter that he couldn't cook worth a damn.

Rev. Stephen Ferry

Napa

As someone who grew up a half-mile from Ingram's, I can say with certainty that the T-shirts didn't boast of surviving the chili—they read "I survived the El Dorado Special," the joint's famously huge chili plate. My dad had one of those shirts, and it was one of his most prized possessions; the El Dorado Special was a beast of a dish, nearly impossible to eat. The last time I ate there was in 1996, on my birthday. I miss it too.—The Ed.


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