Thursday, September 27, 2007

What a Clever Idea!

Our local city of Poughkeepsie was one of approximately two hundred cities selected to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts entitled, “The Big Read.” For the last month, Hudson Valley residents were given free copies of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird in an effort to engage a large sector of the community in a joint reading of a single piece of literature. Discussion groups attracted crowds of over one hundred. The grand finale of "The Big Read" occurred last evening at the Bardavon Theater in Poughkeepsie where hundreds gathered to watch the classic To Kill a Mockingbird movie starring Gregory Peck. The attending crowd was mixed in terms of ethnicity and age.

To Kill A Mockingbird is a well loved novel in our family, I think because Atticus, the virtuous defense lawyer, always reminds us of Dad. Those family members who had not yet read the book are currently enjoying our new free copy. We were definitely proud to be among the crowd that arrived early to catch the pre-movie organ recital. I was engaged for every moment of the movie, and of course was completely enthralled by the noble and courageous Atticus Finch.

Several weeks back I reported that my taxes went to four venues of the government. I am now happy to say that my taxes have a fifth destination: a small sector of the National Endowment for the Arts that supports “The Big Read.” What a clever idea and what a wonderful choice of literature! - Sarah Angell

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do. [Dad's favorite lines from Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.]