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March-April 2018

Bill Sherrod, Editor


My wife, Patricia, and I just wanted to let your readers know that we are just about finished with her cancer treatments. It’s the first time since it began that we have heard the word “remission.” God is good!! I’ve been wanting to thank you all, especially writer Laura Emery, for the wonderful sidebar feature on my wife Patricia in the October 2017 Cooperative Living cover story, “Spreading Kindness: One Rock at a Time.” The encouraging words, thoughts and prayers we received from total strangers on the street, as a result of the article, was unbelievable. She’s gotten support from all over the state of Virginia. The rocks that I’ve been painting have also kept me strong throughout this. Thanks again for featuring our story in your magazine!

— Charles Reed,  King William County


It was wonderful to see the comments of Cathy Gouldman Perry about the importance of the 1766 Leedstown Resolutions in the February Cooperative Living Mailbag.

This complements the activities of the Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society, which is in the 11th year of an annual commemoration of this revered document.

Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society has held events at Menokin in Richmond County, Yeocomico Church and Stratford Hall in Westmoreland County, and Mahockney and Archibald Ritchie House in Essex County. At each ceremony, living-history interpreters present different episodes of the likely occurrences surrounding the writing and signing of the Leedstown Resolutions. The 250th anniversary in 2016 attracted 150 attendees.

The most recent event at Ingleside Winery was titled “Ten Years After” and centered on patriots’ discussions of their thoughts and concerns in February of 1776 in a Leedstown Tavern. Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society welcomes participation and program suggestions.

— Steve Walker Kinsale, Virginia Past President, Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society


I am writing as a fan of Richard Johnstone Jr.’s Viewpoint column, “A Place Apart” in the February 2018 edition. It was a well-written and interesting article that truly takes one on a journey and leaves you with a desire to visit.

However, as a non-native to Virginia I am uncertain where Highland County is in relation to the rest of the state. Having not had Virginia history and being too lazy to look it up, I was thinking you could have a background view of the commonwealth of Virginia in the article and simply having a raised portion for Highland County, or whatever region of Virginia you may be referring to.

Please keep up the great work, your magazine is a refreshing read, especially in this day and time.

— Mitch Orndorff, Winchester, Virginia


Regarding the ongoing Mailbag discussion about science and fiction, consider this: Dr. Peter Higgs did not prove his theoretical particle because it wasn’t his job to prove his particle existed.

The job of theoretical physicists is to propose possible answers and to explain, using the language of science — mathematics — why this is AN answer if not THE answer. (As everyone should know by now, the average person is using the word “theory” when they should be using the word “hypothesis.”) Dr. Higgs did not expect to be proven correct within his lifetime and had long been retired.

Perhaps you remember when he was proven correct at CERN in 2012 after 40 years of work. The point is that other scientists in that field have the job of proving or disproving a scientist’s work. Science used to be easy and one could make discoveries using thought, mathematics, a pencil and a piece of paper, see Einstein and Relativity. But that is no longer the case. Finding the Higgs particle required: an extremely powerful collider (which took 20 years to design and another 20 to construct), the internet to transmit the data, the computers with the capability to handle the data this massive collider would generate and the cooperation of nations, some of whom were otherwise in conflict with each other.

Compare that to what proved Einstein’s Theory of Relativity: observing a solar eclipse and observing gravitational lensing. A science fiction writer can come up with anything he or she likes and get away with it because he or she is not surrounded by other writers eager to prove him or her wrong.

Peer review is nothing less than gladiatorial combat to the death of reputation and of careers. But when it all comes right, it is glorious. Just as Dr. Peter Higgs.

— Katherine Zupan Woodbridge, Virginia


February’s story about the Highland Maple Festival noted that “Back Creek Farms makes rye-barrel syrup by extracting flavors out of wooden casks from rye whiskey distillers. In a double trade, the distillers craft maple-flavored whiskey using the same casks.”

Back Creek Farms makes rye, bourbon, brandy and (wheat) whiskey barrel-aged maple syrups (in addition to infusions

including chili pepper, coffee amaretto and others).

However, it is illegal for distillers to reuse barrels for aging spirits. While Back Creek Farms sells used barrels to home brewers, they do not return them to the distillery. helps keep the life in our freedom.

Back Creek Farms makes rye-whiskey-barrel-infused maple syrup and heats things up with Back Creek Farms’ chili pepper flavor.

Back Creek Farms makes rye-whiskey-barrel-infused maple syrup and heats things up with Back Creek Farms’ chili pepper flavor.