Much ado about Hemingway house |

Much ado about Hemingway house

Allen Best

KETCHUM, Idaho Ð A proposal to allow public access into the Ketchum home where the author Ernest Hemingway committed suicide is drawing opposition.

Hemingway’s fourth and last wife, Mary, willed the house to the Nature Conservancy with the understanding that it not be open to the public, explains USA Today. But Hemingway’s granddaughter, Mariel, an actress, thinks that times have changed.

“It doesn’t have the same validity that it used to, worrying about whether he committed suicide,” she says. “It’s a fact of life that he did. It’s part of the tremendous color of his existence.”

Hemingway began spending time at nearby Sun Valley in the 1930s when completing “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” He bought the house in 1959, and two years later, when he was 61, shot himself with a 12-gauge shot gun.

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Among those opposing the opening of the house to the public are neighbors. The house is not currently identified. Doing so, say some, will cause a public distraction. “It’s a land-use issue, not a Hemingway issue,” says one neighbor.

But a Hemingway scholar from South Carolina told the newspaper that the neighborhoods have it backwards. “It’s too bad about these people who don’t want the peasants parking in their streets,” said Matthew Bruccoli. “But the claims of literature override anything else.”

Other Hemingway homes, in Cuba and in Florida Keys, are already open to the public.

Smoking ban to include Banff bars

BANFF, Alberta Ð For Banff businesses that currently allow smoking, Aug. 1 will be the cold-turkey day.

A new municipal law authorizes several exemptions. Smoking will still be permitted on outdoor patios or decks where wait staff does not provide service. And second, smokers will be allowed to congregate in designated smoking rooms that are fully-enclosed and ventilated, although they will not be serviced.

“As usual, when things are designed by a committee, it looks a bit like a camel,” observed the Rocky Mountain Outlook of the new law.

Although generally supportive of the ban, the newspaper noted the hypocrisy of “forcing bars, which are in the business to peddle alcohol, to forbid their patrons from consuming another, equally harmful substance, tobacco.”

To that, ban supporters would no doubt note a difference. Heavy drinkers, unless they drive, are menaces only to themselves. Tobacco smoke, by its nature, knows no boundaries.

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