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Kicked Out

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Dear Mr. Miner,

Regarding Dan McCauley's response in the November 18 Hot Type column to a story about a mom being kicked out of his shop, A Taste of Heaven. He is reported to have said that his sign was "no more than a 'very gentle reminder' that no one who worked for him would ever enforce so brutally."

Well, maybe. My wife and son were banned for life from A Taste of Heaven in the sweetest possible language by Mr. McCauley himself before the sign was posted. (They undoubtedly have the distinction of being at least partially responsible for its appearance.) My son had been disruptive, and as my wife, a longtime customer, was taking him out of the store she stopped to tell Mr. McCauley how glad she was that he had moved his store into the neighborhood. He responded by very politely asking them never to come back to his store. The details are almost beside the point now, as they provide enough ammunition for either side to continue what has essentially turned into an opportunity for people to rant. A lot of ink has been spilled, and many opinions voiced, on this story, none of which seems to me to have led to much clarity.

What annoys me most is that some people seem to think that this is an argument about whether kids should behave or not. The issue to me is more one of civility and how we resolve our problems with respect for both sides. I don't think it brings great honor to Andersonville to have had this essentially petty conflict turn into a conflagration. My idea of a neighborhood is one where people respect each other enough to talk out their differences peacefully and move on with greater understanding. I somehow don't see my kids looking back fondly on A Taste of Heaven as the friendly neighborhood ice cream shop, supervised by a strict but ultimately benevolent--perhaps even loving--owner, the way I look back wistfully at many of the local shops in my old neighborhood in Pittsburgh.

Ralph Walsh

Andersonville

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