Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Pandas, Bibles and Tacos

This is my friend Collier.

He’s going to be eight years old next month. He lives in Florida with his mom, who happens to be one of my oldest and dearest friends.

Collier is holding a picture he made of his three favorite things: Pandas, Bibles and tacos.

Isn’t it great?

What are your three favorite things?

It’s more difficult than you think, coming up with just three.

For me, it’s books. Trees. And beaches.

And the really neato-skeeto thing about my three things is that they haven’t changed all that much since I was Collier’s age.
What’s the number one thing on your list?

Maybe it’s a sport or a pastime or a food, like Collier’s tacos. Or maybe it’s a thing, like cars or airplanes.

Now think about the moment when you discovered your love/passion/affinity for that thing.

Quite a rush, wasn’t it?
I’ll never forget the first ‘real’ book I read. And by ‘real’ I mean it had way more words than pictures.

It was Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.

I can close my eyes right now and see the illustrated cover of that book. The pages were soft and somewhat worn from all the little hands that had held it before me.

“Please, Dad, can I please stay up a little later?” I begged. “I’m almost done.”

After gobbling up that last delicious page, I could hardly sleep thinking about the amazing story of Charlotte the spider and her friend Wilbur, who was “Some Pig.”

And I just couldn’t wait to dive into all the other really great stories that were waiting for me in the library back at school.

It changed my life.
When I was a little older, I combined two of my favorite things by climbing a tree with a paperback stuffed in my back pocket. I’d stay up there for hours reading while the wind gently rocked the branches around me.

It was a great way to feel far, far away without ever leaving my front yard.
It’s just a very vague early memory, the first time I went to a beach – Up North during a visit to my Grandma and Grandpa’s house near Grayling, Michigan.

But you can bet your butt that I remember every beach I’ve visited since then.

Each one of my life’s greatest memories happened at the shore of some lake or ocean, with my toes dug in the sand and a big smile on my face, just like Collier’s.
I am listening to: Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head – BJ Thomas & Burt Bacharach
I am reading: Henry James – The Portrait of a Lady
And I am: Young again