Editor's note: Columnist Bob Ring thanks the many readers who responded to his appeal for travel information to retrace his great-grandfather's 1850 trek across southern Mexico's Isthmus of Tehuantepec (Foothills Star, Aug. 19). Ring is planning the adventure and promises to share his experience after the trip next spring.

The question of the month: Which four historical figures would you invite to dinner?

I started thinking about that while conducting research for a recent world history project (Foothills Star, Feb. 25) when I reviewed a book about the 100 most influential people in history.

That brought to mind an old PBS series from the late 1970s and early '80s called "Meeting of Minds," starring Steve Allen.

Allen "interviewed" oddly matched groups of historical persons such as Cleopatra, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Aquinas and Thomas Paine, or Emily Dickinson, Attila the Hun, Charles Darwin and Galileo.

I thought the series was fascinating, even for non-history buffs.

How would you choose four people from history to invite to your dinner table? Would you pick those you most admire - perhaps Eleanor Roosevelt? Or people you have questions of - maybe the pirate Blackbeard so you could ask where he hid all his treasure.

Would you invite someone you'd like to get to know better, such as Gandhi, or someone you'd like to slap around for his horrible actions, like Hitler?

You could invite someone you'd like to dazzle with today's technology, like Thomas Edison, or a group that might spark interesting conversation, like those from Meeting of Minds.

Pat and I had fun discussing this, but never agreed on who to invite. Oh well, I guess that means we'd have two dinners.

My historical guests would include Tchaikovsky, Einstein, Lincoln and Michelangelo. These are the four people I most respect or appreciate in their fields.

My fantasy menu would be Sleeping Beauty salad with Russian dressing, relativity soup with energy crackers, house-divided stew with abolition sauce, and Pie(ta) with Sistine Chapel topping.

You'll have to come up with an appropriate menu for your guests.

E-mail Bob Ring at ringbob1@aol.com or view his website, ringbrothershistory.com