I was walking home from teaching my classes yesterday and found myself humming the song “My Favorite Things.” It was a most glorious autumn afternoon; everything was green and golden; all along the campus, college students still in shorts (in November!) were skateboarding, playing Frisbee on the quad, reading on benches and soaking up the last rays of sun.
I started to feel grateful for the beautiful day, for the perfect walk home through tall pine and crunchy leaves. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens . . .Favorite things? Not mine.
Roses are my least favorite flower. They’re thorny. They don’t last long. Roses are the flowers sent by the least imaginative of men on the most traditional of occasions. After many bouquets for which I feigned both surprise and delight, I finally fessed up and told my husband that I didn’t really like roses. This has become somewhat of an anniversary joke. “I know, please, don’t buy me roses.” I do love lilies. And daisies. And brilliant gladiolas. But especially tulips. . Lovely tulips which, even in their last throes, arch gracefully away. My favorite things . . .
And whiskers on kittens… My husband is virulently allergic to cats. Not that I’d ever want to own one. Anyone who knows me, also knows how I feel about cats. What I usually say is, “I’m not an animal person,” when I’m in someone’s house and her cat circles the chair and is about to make a leap into my lap. Cats always sense who doesn’t like them.
If I were rewriting the song to list my own favorite things, what would I include?
- The first sip of coffee in the morning.
- The smell of a baby’s head.
- Anything lemon, but especially my friend Jamie’s lemon cake made with love and extra lemon zest.
- A sign on the highway: End Road Construction.
- The mute button on the remote.
- Spooning in bed on a cold night cuddled up to someone you love.
- A vodka martini, straight up with a twist.
- A book I never want to end.
- The words, it’s benign.
- Real mail: a birthday card sent with a stamp, a thank you note, a package with my name on it.
- Chocolate-covered pretzels.
- The mournful sound of bagpipes.
- A ruby-ripe pomegranate: the most incredibly beautiful fruit.
- Sitting in a darkened movie theater, right before the main feature comes on.
- Coming home from vacation and seeing your welcoming house at the end of the block.
- Thanksgiving: My most favorite holiday of all. Thanksgiving is the holiday that means good food and family. Thanksgiving means gratitude for the bounty of favorite things.