Here at Southwest Airlines Spirit Magazine, we aim for at least one memorable yarn every issue. We’re not interested in the kind of stuff you see in other inflight magazines—trend stories on hot new wines, celebs crowing their “passion” for a restaurant. We love stories that live the spirit—we’re suckers for happy endings—that make him turn to the stranger in the next seat and say, “I love you, man.” (Unless it’s not a man.)
Writers send ideas from all over into our Dallas office, and we regularly wrack our own brains for true tales of ordinary people doing great things. So it’s unusual that I found a story two miles from my house in rural New Hampshire. Jim Collins—author of an amazing book, The Last Best League—and his wife Kristen Laine (author of a great book on marching bands) had hired a babysitter to watch the kids during the summer. The sitter, a high school senior named Ian, was a drama kid who starred in all the school plays. My friends asked him to start a day camp at their house for their own kids and their kids’ friends. The result was a multi-year bit of summer magic.
Not only that, but I got to be on the cover of a magazine for the first time in my 34 years as an editor. Well, you can’t really tell it’s me—I’m way in the distance—but it’s definitely my canoe! The Collins-Laines live on a beautiful little lake where I keep my boat.
Continuing our summer theme, Executive John McAlley sent himself to the toughest golf hole in the U.S., along with a pocketful of his deceased uncle’s ashes. His story is the sweetest golf piece I’ve read in years. And we include a fascinating story of a beekeeper, an excerpt from Hannah Nordhaus’s The Beekeeper’s Lament: How One man and Half a Billion Bees Help Feed America. Throw in a great Adventure In Oklahoma City, and you got yourself a summer.