Please fill in the blank with the appropriate response.
Favorite colors: “purple, then yellow, then green”
Favorite type of music: “40’s”
Favorite travel destinations: “Middle Bass Island, Ohio; foreign lands – Japan, Italy, Greece”
Favorite foods: “BLTs, sweet & sour, crab in alfredo sauce”
Favorite desserts: “chocolate anything, cheesecake”
Favorite influential people: “C. S. Lewis, my parents”
Favorite hobbies: “needlework, reading, jigsaw puzzles”
Favorite flowers: “lilac, lily of the valley, gardenias”
Favorite sports/activities: “biking & swimming”
Favorite fantasies: “Sleeping Beauty variations”
Favorite personality likes: “cheerfulness, sincerity”
Favorite personality dislikes: “snobbishness, boastfulness”
Favorite toothpaste: “Arm & Hammer Dental Care”
Favorite perfume/cologne: “Halston”
Favorite books: “Watership Down, Heidi, Chronicles of Narnia”
Favorite cartoon characters: “Gummi Bears, the Simpson family”
Favorite animals: “dogs, cats, chimpanzees”
Favorite drinks: “Bacardi strawberry, orange juice, root beer”
Favorite restaurant: “Yellow Dragon”
Favorite car (dream car): “purple something”
Favorite retreat spots (which you read as ‘sports’ for some reason): “swimming, hiking, archery”
Dearest Rachel –
I know it seems a little different from the usual chapter from this or that Bible study book, but you wrote about other things from time to time. Keeping in mind that The Sound of Music number “My Favorite Things” is occasionally considered a Christmas standard, I figured I could use this little questionnaire of unknown provenance (but most likely from half a lifetime away) to create a little snapshot of you based on the things you considered to be your favorites at the time.
I say ‘at the time’ because let’s be honest, people’s tastes change from year to year – sometimes even from day to day. Granted, you were pretty consistent with the things you liked and disliked – although it’s been at least a decade since you were able to eat the ‘L’ of a BLT (the story of which could easily be an entire entry unto itself, to be honest, since it wasn’t exclusively lettuce that you had to give up when you discovered the reaction you were having to it), so this has to be from a long time ago. The reference to Bacardi strawberry daiquiri mix, one of those juice concentrates that your folks would keep around the house for you, has also long since been discontinued, as far as I know; I can’t even find the stuff on Amazon, and they have everything, you know (it was how we discovered that Hershey’s spread had been discontinued when we could no longer find the stuff on their site).
The Yellow Dragon is another clue that this was probably early on in our relationship, maybe before Daniel’s birth, or even before our marriage. That was a Chinese place down in Bloomington that your parents would take you (on your insistence) when they would visit. I’m not sure if it’s still there; when I try to look it up, I find a Golden Dragon that’s been in business for at least thirty years (which would put it to approximately our college years, at least) with some pretty decent reviews. Maybe you were confused, or maybe this is another place entirely. I can’t recall, and I can’t ask you. Again, this is another proof this has to be at least from the nineties; otherwise, we both know that the Station would be all over this (although I myself might be hard pressed to give up precedence to Lou Malnati’s – yes, I admit to switching allegiances with regard to deep-dish pizzerias, but the category is still high enough to contend against our favorite sushi place).
Meanwhile, you managed to get your dream car (or at least get a car you liked painted the color you loved), and drive it for the last couple years of your life (and even before that one, there was the cranberry-colored PT cruiser, which was a reasonably close approximation to the purple car you craved).
And I suspect the countries you named as travel destinations were due to having recently (or in the case of Japan, relatively recently) been to those places, especially Greece (with Italy on your wish list by the mere fact of having missed out on traveling there). There would be so many others to add to this list, had it been written a decade or so later than I’m guessing it was. Of course, on the domestic front, your love of Middle Bass Island never changed, and I know I have yet to arrange your final passage there. I’m hoping to not have to take this trip with just Daniel; that’s the struggle here. I’m hoping you can understand.
And for now, I’m not going to comment on Sleeping Beauty. That might be a subject for another day… or not.
But of course, there are other things that never changed. While our bikes may have gathered rust (and lost air in their tires) in our old shed, you never gave up your love of swimming, after all. I certainly hope you get plenty of opportunities to do so where you are now – and wonder what things must be like up there, particularly considering that ‘the sea’ is described as being ‘no more.’ I understand it to be a metaphorical way of saying that chaos had been eliminated, but for many of us, those waters were one of the best things in life; it would be a shame if they no longer existed in the hereafter, where all the best things are supposed to be.
I wonder if the Monty Python troupe (of all people!) didn’t hit it on the head in their garish musical number from The Meaning of Life:
The title actually says it all, although I rather doubt the depiction here is even close to being accurate. Consider it; if Christmas celebrates Jesus’ birthday, but He’s not physically present here for us to fête Him like the guest of honor that He is, what must it be like there, where He can be seen, addressed and worshiped? Perhaps it is like a perpetual Christmas, only more like the greatest birthday celebration we could imagine, with Him at the head table as the birthday Boy! Sure, we might get goodie bags or whatever as His guests there (and no doubt, they would include so many of our favorite things we so loved here on earth), but this is His party; He is at the center of it all.
Even then, it really sounds like something to look forward to – not least because I might get to see you there.
Until then, keep a place or two open for me and Daniel. Enjoy the party while you’re waiting, and I’ll see you when my ride gets here.