My relationship with To Kill a Mockingbird goes way back and the story has wound it's way through my life over the years. The phenomenon surrounding the book and the movie are ubiquitous. The book still sells roughly 1 million copies a year and, of course, was turned into an Academy Award winning movie. I was sorry, but not surprised to read if that books author, Harper Lee passing away at the age of 89.

I mentioned that the story has been sort of a frequent visitor and somewhat of an inspiration over the years. I'll never forget seeing the brilliant movie based on the book starring Gregory Peck. I guess I was 11 or 12 when I first saw that movie and it captured me from the opening credits. I had never seen a movie where kids were real, living, breathing characters. I easily identified with Gem and Scout and, for a few years, the image of Atticus Finch convinced me that I wanted to be a lawyer. More than that though, the movie made me want to be an actor.

As many of you know, my side job is indeed acting. A few years ago, I was cast in the Lake Charles Little Theater production of To Kill a Mockingbird and I had the very meaty role of Bob Ewell. I say it's a meaty role, but the character is, without a doubt, one of the most despicable characters ever fleshed out for the printed page. Needless to say, as an actor, it's the kind of role you dream about. I found out just how hated this character was one day at the grocery store.

We had just completed the run of Mockingbird, when, one day I went to the grocery store. I was mindlessly walking through the isles when a couple approached me and asked me if I was the actor who played Bob Ewell in the play. I plead guilty and they said, "We weren't sure if we even wanted to talk to you. You played such a despicable character in that play." I was at once taken aback and very flattered at the same time.

If you haven't read To Kill a Mockingbird, get a copy now. this weekend and read it. If you haven't seen the movie, I more than highly recommend it.

Even though she only wrote one other novel in her life, she was and is a major figure in literature and will be missed. Thank you, Harper Lee for all the enjoyment your book has given me.