This is a cup of tea worth reading.

    Thousands upon thousands of people have already experienced the pleasure and inspiration of reading the book “Three Cups of Tea,” but I would be among the non-readers at this point were it not for our daughter Mary loaning her copy to me.

    It’s an amazing book about an amazing man, Greg Mortenson, a mountain climber who was rescued from a failed attempt to climb the second highest mountain in the world in Pakistan. Because he was treated so kindly by the people of the village where he recuperated he promised to build a school for the impoverished village’s children.

    How he did it and the perils he overcame make an extraordinary story.

   Reading the book, written chiefly by David Oliver Relin, is thoroughly enjoyable. At the same time, it will change your mind about the wisdom of people far from what we regard as civilization.

    To my mind there is a connection between this book and the war in Afghanistan. If he has not read it, I am confident, after hearing what Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and  NATO commander in Afghanistan, said in a “60 Minutes” television interview Sunday night, that he would agree with the book’s underlying premise.

    As I understand the general’s point of view, the war can’t be won by relying just on firepower. Having the support of the people is all important.

    And getting the support of the people was essentially what made Mortenson’s efforts successful, so successful that at the time of the book’s publication three years ago  55 new schools had been built in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    Believe me, it is worth reading the book. These comments only touch on the astonishing story.
    Why the “Three Cups of Tea” title?

    As explained by Haji Ali, village chief of Korphe: “Here [in Pakistan and Afghanistan] we drink three cups of tea to do business; the first you are a stranger, the second you become a friend, and the third, you join our family, and for our family we are prepared to do anything — even die.”

    Because it supplies some 25% of the cargo-carrying capacity of the Air Force, Dover AFB is a key part of anything done overseas by the U.S. military.

    And an outline of the projects underway or completed at the base by the 436th Wing commander, Col. Manson O. Morris, underscores the substantial role played by the base. Moving the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System to the base, as just announced, only adds to Dover’s importance.

    The colonel spoke last week at a meeting of the Dover Rotary Club. He also became an honorary member of the club, a practice that has been followed for years.

    Tom Smith, whose Delaware Made store is on Loockerman Street, across from the 33 West restaurant, mentioned the other day that he often hears out-of-towners who happen to visit the downtown section say: “I had no idea this is what the center of town was like!”

    That’s because, of course, they were used to speeding by downtown as they stayed on Route 1 or Route 13.

    But there is another segment of shoppers, Tom says, who often express the same surprise, and they are Dover AFB people about to leave Dover for another assignment. Apparently they think they would like to take some memento of Dover and wander into Tom’s place to get something.

    Tom and all the other business people in the downtown area, as you might imagine, wish more folks would take a breather from the main highways and see what else Dover has to offer.

    The October issue of Smithsonian magazine carries a fine story on horseshoe crabs and how the eggs of these ancient animals feed the annual arrival in May of the red knot sandpipers, some of them ending a trip that started in Tierra del Fuego, at the tip of South America. After a brief rest in Brazil, according to the story by Abigail Tucker, “they travel almost 5,000 miles straight to Delaware Bay on the way to their Arctic nesting grounds.”

    The red knots are just one of the birds making our Delaware Bay a stopping place, which is why bird watching is a pursuit which brings many visitors to the First State.

    Friends of his remember with a smile the late Al Hedgecock, the friendly and effective guy who for years was the executive director of the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce. The chamber’s annual golf tournament, named for him, was last Thursday, and I was fortunate to be able to play with Mike Harrington, who was president of the chamber at the time of Al’s death. Brad Allen and Phyllis Fantazier completed the foursome.

    In the scramble format, which means playing the best ball hit on each hole by any of the four players, we didn’t quite make par for the Wild Quail course. But we did enjoy the day and the ups and downs of the match. If we had experienced as many good shots as we did laughs our final score would have been much better.

    Mike, by the way, served two one-year terms as chamber president and during that time the chamber made the big move from Treadway Towers to U.S. Route 13.

    The big race at Dover International Speedway again put Dover and Delaware on the national map, and again saw publication by the Dover Post Co. of the Beyond the Track magazine with Kathy Willes as the racing editor. She and her husband, Roger, took all the publication’s photos.

    Kathy was the Post’s comptroller before taking a similar job at a New Castle County company.

    Beyond the Track is published only for the Dover races in the spring and fall. As far as I know, there isn’t another NASCAR track in the country with anything to match it.

    Mike Zaragoza, who organized the bike race that for the first time was a feature of the annual Amish Bike Tour, was pleased with having 73 riders participate in the recent inaugural event. His goal is to make the public aware of prostate cancer and how it can best be treated if diagnosed in the early stages.

    A policeman went up to a street musician and asked, “Excuse me, sir, but do you have a license to play that violin in the street?”

    And the violinist answered, “Well, actually, no,”

    “In that case I’m going to have to ask you to accompany me.”

    “Of course, officer. What would you like to sing?”