(The more things change, the more my favorite things stay the same. The majority of this list was compiled in 2012.)
Under a protective cap of silver-frosted hair sits a jukebox. Sometimes it plays songs. Other times there’s just background music and a voice, scrolling down a list of things that make me smile. Monday morning, I was smiling—watching martins do aerobatics around the tower of gourds.
I guess those antics punched A-7 in my mental jukebox. The Sound of Music’s Julie Andrews sang, “These are a few of my favorite things.” And that’s what prompted this list, as I waited for the sun to say “good morning” over the farm pond.
Julie, I like these things:
The annual arrival of martins, mockingbirds chasing crows, puppies, rain on a tin roof, glowing embers in a fire, Ray Charles singing “Georgia on My Mind,” homemade peach ice cream, harmonicas, random acts of kindness, punctuality, the Altamaha River, sunrise, sunset and a full moon.
Seven grandsons and a granddaughter cackling as they play with their cousins, Elvis singing old gospel favorites, tree canopies over dirt roads, sunflowers, all-cotton clothes, dueling banjos, Tom’s peanuts in a small bottle of Coke, fireworks, satellite radio, lively debates, porch swings, honesty, family photo albums, mules, pithy quotes, PB&J sandwiches, a morning newspaper, thornless blackberries, pitching horseshoes, old barns, and loyal, non-judgmental friends.
And then there are:
Worth-the-money movies, the Wall Street Journal, anything Rick Bragg writes, Garden and Gun magazine, The Week, Sports Illustrated, 60 Minutes, the Andy Griffith Show, you-can’t-put-down books, pleasant surprises, forgetting annoying things, nostalgia, when-it-works technology, forgiveness, cooking on a Big Green Egg, Tinactin, engines that crank with one yank of the cord, unconditional love, walking barefoot on the beach, projects, tax refunds, the season’s first homegrown-tomato sandwich, oak furniture, and moments when you want to sing with James Brown: “I feel good!”
But I can’t stop there:
Digging in the dirt, mowing with the tractor, gifted storytellers, boiled peanuts, mountain streams with waterfalls, laughter around a campfire, natural beauty, heart pine, cypress trees in the swamp, hot chocolate, the tug of a bream on a cane pole, fresh fruit, reader feedback, tractor with front-end loader, tossing a cast net in a tidal creek, wearing Crocs, freedom of speech, marking things off a to-do list, days without a to-do list and a just-from-the-oven banana pudding. That’s a ditto for blackberry cobblers and made-from-scratch cathead biscuits.
Julie was still singing, so I jotted these:
Pulling on warm jeans from the dryer, watching a birddog’s tail quiver in a locked point, quail covey rise, fresh-cut flowers, hummingbirds, Costa Rica, Floyd Cramer on the piano, beach music—Tams, Drifters, Four Tops, Temptations, Embers, Showmen, Jerry Butler, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs—bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace,” short make-you-think sermons, rope hammocks, woodworking, done-right pork barbecue, Lee Greenwood singing “God Bless the USA,” taillights after a good visit, fried okra, and thin-sliced fried squash.
Julie was winding down, so I had to hurry:
Taking off my tie and shoes, screen porches, rocking chairs, cool summertime breezes, teamwork, jokes that you can tell your mother, jaw-dropping photography, good manners, handwritten thank-you notes, the University of Georgia, small towns, yogurt, being born in rural America, fall foliage of ginkgo and sugar maple trees and remembering the elementary school days when you said something silly and milk spurted out of your buddy’s nose.
These are a “few” of my favorite things, but I can’t quit without this:
I love telling people that my hometown is Jesup.