Charles Schulz
I cannot recall a single day in all of the years of my childhood when the warmth, compassion and humor of Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts gang did not touch me in some way. The lessons I gleaned were far more profound than those from any teacher in or out of the classroom, because those lessons were born in the heart of a kind and gentle mind. From Charlie Brown I learned perseverance. From Linus I learned serenity. From Lucy I learned to express what is on my mind. From Sally I learned to question authority. From Pigpen I learned to appreciate simple joys. From Schroeder I learned to share whatever gifts I have. From Woodstock I learned devotion. And from Snoopy I learned to embrace and celebrate life. Moreover, Mr. Schulz taught me to listen carefully to the quiet places in my heart and to follow my dreams. He was a consistent and positive presence in my life, and he will remain so. How will I thank him? How can I ever forget him?
KC Hardt, San Diego

What a wonderful article on the man who has made us smile and laugh for so many years. I have been an enormous Peanuts fan since I was little, and when I made the decision at age 29 to get a tattoo, there was no clearer choice than a dancing Snoopy. Thank you, Mr. Schulz. You will be greatly missed, but your legacy will live in our hearts (and on my hip!) forever.
Kelly Cromwell, Bedminster, N.J.

I am 37 years old and I have never known a world without Mr. Schulz's wonderful Peanuts characters. Whenever I would see his strip, it would instantly take me back to my childhood: reading my Peanuts anthology books, trying to draw his characters on my art pad, sleeping soundly in my Snoopy bedsheets and the annual schoolwide buzzing of anticipation for the network showing of A Charlie Brown Christmas. God bless you, Mr. Schulz. My childhood was a better place for you and your gang being in it.
Robert Fyke, Modesto, Calif.

Like so many people, I was lucky to have grown up with Peanuts. Charles Schulz made it easier to be different and to face life's challenges. I praise him for being a genius, for being a wonderful father like the one I am fortunate to have and for changing the world to make it better, more humorous and definitely more tolerable. Marcy Quayle, Kalamazoo, Mich.

The public will always consider Peanuts to be Charles Schulz's greatest legacy. But his greatest legacy is in the kind and respectful words his children used to describe him. What a great way to be remembered.
Sherry Davis, Hendersonville, Tenn.

God blessed us with Charles Schulz, and his legacy of memorable characters will remain to inspire and enlighten countless generations to come.
Steve Schappell, Reinholds, Pa.

Style Watch
Mary J. Blige feels she has accomplished something because she wears fur? You bet she has: the brutal abuse and slaughter of many defenseless animals and the degradation of our ethical and social values. I am amazed that anyone's measure of their own accomplishments could be so morally bankrupt.
Anne Streeter, Mount Royal, Que.

To make one fur coat takes an average of 40 beautiful fur-bearing animals, killed by methods that include anal electrocution, neck-breaking, gassing and skinning alive. Shame on the pathetic wearers who were pictured and the senseless others who choose vanity over compassion.
Amanda Valencia, Ventura, Calif.

Not only are many people converting to fur-free fashion, but most people swore off fur a long time ago. And no matter what fur designers say, young people are the most vocal in speaking out against this cruel industry. Although certain celebrities flaunt their ignorance by covering themselves with dead animals, most people have enough sense to understand why fur is such an ugly fashion faux pas.
Sherrill Durbin, Mounds, Okla.

Antifur protesters have won few converts? Do the names Paul McCartney, Kim Basinger, Alec Baldwin, Mary Tyler Moore, Christina Applegate, Ellen DeGeneres, Kate Bush, Richard Gere, Charlize Theron, Jennie Garth, Sarah McLachlan, Martin Sheen, Woody Harrelson, Pierce Brosnan, Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, Richard Pryor, Alicia Silverstone, William Shatner, Kirstie Alley, Jane Leeves, Sara Gilbert, Rosanna Arquette, Bea Arthur, Fiona Apple, Peter Gabriel, Lyle Lovett, Paula Cole, Michael Stipe, k.d. lang, Bill Maher, Kate Pierson, Lindsay Wagner, Martina Navratilova and Candice Bergen mean anything to you? These are just a few of the celebrities who have committed their reputations and resources to the protection of animals, including those used for fur. That a few uncaring people in Hollywood have chosen to endorse this cruel industry means nothing.
Andrew Plumbly
Director, Global Action Network, Montreal

Carlos Santana
Finally, Carlos Santana receives the credit he so richly deserves for being the talented musician he is. I grew up listening to Santana's music. Every time I pop in his Abraxas, it takes me back to a time many, many years ago, to the backseat of a '69 green Camaro with a boy named Marty who still remains in my heart today.
Judy Rathel-Reed, via e-mail

At Christmas, when my 13-year-old asked for a Santana CD, I was so pleased. I passed my teen years listening to Santana and loving not just one of his sounds but all of them. Welcome back, Carlos.
Candyce Wolsfeld, Spring Valley, ILL.

Tom Landry
Thank you for remembering Tom Landry. He was a special man and coach. Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, should give him the best possible tribute—by changing the name of Cowboy Stadium to Tom Landry Stadium.
Patricia Filewood, Weatherford, Texas

Jim Varney
I've been a fan of Jim Varney's from the moment I saw his rubbery face peering in the window on his unseen good buddy, Vern. As Ernest, Jim Varney captured the heart of a child mixed with the silliness of only the very seriously warped. Thank you for a fitting tribute to an actor whose talent often went unrecognized.
Jeannie Hastings, Roanoke, Ind.

Colorado Shooting
I was appalled to read that Nicholas Kunselman was working alone at night, at age 15, closing the Subway shop on the night of his murder. No 15-year-old should have been left alone to run a business. It is probably illegal in most states anyway! Maybe this senseless tragedy could have been avoided if the owner had not left a child in charge of the restaurant that night.
Joyce Norman, via e-mail

Mailbag
Smoking has absolutely nothing to do with Michael J. Fox's efforts to help fight Parkinson's disease. Last I heard, smoking cigarettes was legal, and my guess would be that Michael isn't promoting smoking, as I have
rarely seen a photo of him with a cigarette in his hand. How about not kicking someone when he's down, or better yet, how about just having some consideration for other people's feelings.
Rhonda Flanagan, Edwardsburg, Mich.

Perhaps the readers who attacked Michael J. Fox for smoking would like to have someone examine all of their personal habits and be just as self-righteous and sanctimonious as they were.
Anne Galloway, Anchorage

On the same day that I read your readers' critical comments about Michael J. Fox's smoking, USA Today published an article regarding smoking and Parkinson's disease. According to new research presented by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, nicotine may help some brain disorders, including Parkinson's. Maybe your readers could use a little research of their own!
Carol Fuller, Richmond, Va.