Warda over at 64 sq ft kitchen recently tagged me for a meme. Basically, I’m supposed to tell you seven random things you don’t know about me. Well, most of you won’t know these things about me. Some of you will know some of them. My wife Marion will know all of them. I briefly toyed with including at least one thing that she didn’t know, but then decided [wisely, I think] that anything she doesn’t know about me by now is best left that way. So, speaking of Marion, I’ll begin with this one:
1. I met my wife in an elevator. Marion was moving into my apartment building, and I was running neighborhood errands that had me in and out of the elevator all day. By the second time I saw her there, I had already decided I was going to get up the nerve to ask her out.
Within months, we had consolidated into a larger apartment in the building, which delighted our leasing agent Shari. She thought it was totally romantic and told the story of our meeting to every prospective renter she showed our smaller apartments to. Two years later when we were moving out of the building and dutifully showing our apartment to a potential renter, I mentioned in passing that Marion and I had met in the building. He said, “Yeah, I heard that story in some bar.”
2. I think peanut butter cookies are the best cookies on the planet. I just do.
3. By the time I was seven years old, I had lived in Minnesota, Mississippi, Southern California and St. Louis, Missouri [twice]. My dad wasn’t in the military or on the lam. He just had itchy feet.
4. I got thrown out of Stonehenge. No, I wasn’t defacing the stones or climbing on them or trying to chip off a “souvenir” or anything. The place just wasn’t exactly open when I tried to go there. It was about 6:30 in the morning, and my brother and I had been up almost 24 hours by then, coming back to England from a road trip in France. We’d driven all night, taking the last ferry from Calais to Dover, and planned a final stop at Stonehenge before making it back to my brother’s house near the English village of Byfield.
Except when we got there, with a beautiful sunrise making the impressive monoliths glow, we learned that it didn’t open until 9:30. By then, the light would be boringly flat, and my brother and I hoped to be sound asleep. There was nothing but a low fence protecting the prehistoric wonder—or so we thought—and from this distance, even my telephoto lens couldn’t make it look exciting. After firing off a few frustrating shots, I decided I was going in and hopped the fence. My brother was right behind me.
For a few exhilarating minutes, we were among the silent giants. I managed to get a couple of photos, but they were my practice shots, the ones you get out of the way as you come to terms with your subject. And then the guard showed up. Apparently we had tripped an electronic surveillance system or something. He was polite enough but all business as he escorted us to the exit. I saw one heartbreaking image after another as he hustled us along. “Could I just take a couple more pictures?” I asked.
“Keep moving,” he said, with clipped British authority.
“But the light is perfect right now. This is when Stonehenge is meant to be seen.”
“You know, it seems to me that if they can pay someone to kick you out at 6:30 in the morning, they could pay someone to let you in.” This brilliant logic was met with silence. My brother shot me a look that said unless I wanted to tour a British jail, I should be silent too. For once, I wised up and shut up.
5. I don’t drink coffee. Just never acquired the taste, even though I’ve tried. Iced tea and Diet Pepsi are my caffeine delivery systems of choice. Our daughters don’t much care for dark chocolate. Once when I opined to older daughter Claire that dark chocolate may just be a more mature taste one grows into, she answered, “Big talk from someone who still doesn’t drink coffee.” For the record, both daughters drink coffee.
6. I’ve never eaten escargot. Sticking with the topic of being shown up culinarily by my daughters, I think of myself as at least a semi-adventurous eater. But having messed with my share of snails and slugs as a kid—in ponds, back yard gardens, fish tanks—I just can’t get past the fact that they’re, well, bugs. Still, younger daughter Laurel ordered them once when we were at the lovely Chicago bistro La Sardine and declared them delicious. I think I may have to cowboy up someday soon and try them. I mean, enough butter and garlic can make anything taste good, right?
7. I took my mama to Graceland. My mother was a huge Elvis fan. She even had a shrine to him in her kitchen. But as many times as she’d been through Memphis on various trips, she’d never gone to see his home. Several years ago, when she was between treatments for the cancer that would eventually claim her, I took her on a road trip—just the two of us—from St. Louis to Mississippi to see family down there. On the way, I surprised her with a visit to Graceland. Even though the walking tired her out, she saw absolutely everything there was to see and touched everything you were allowed to touch. I’ve taken more than my share of great road trips over the years. Seeing my mom so completely absorbed in taking in everything that day at Elvis’ home made this trip an amazing one. And it made the day one of the best of my life.
And now, according to tradition, I’m supposed to tag seven more people. From the admittedly limited blog reading I do, I think I’m quite possibly the last person to ever be tagged. But if you haven’t been and would like to play, then, “Tag, you’re it!”