26. Buffalo wings: When I was at Susquehanna University, Buffalo wings were a sign of fraternity, of community, of shared experiences and lasting friendships. I don’t know how many times my friends and I shared plates of wings, cups of cheddar cheese soup, and Sprites at Front Street Station, but it was often and they were some of the best nights of my whole college experience. I miss those days. The simplicity and innocence of being in one’s 20s will never come again to me. There’s just too much experience and water over the bridge. But when I think back to all those plates of wings it reminds me how much fun life could be and was, and I’m very grateful for every chicken that died so that I might laugh.
27. The Thomas Jefferson Hour: This is a recent addition to my favorite things but I can honestly say that it has drastically opened my mind and changed my perception about all things American. Clay Jenkinson and his regular guest host, David Swenson, are a joy to listen to on a weekly and sometimes daily basis. I have learned so much about American history, politics, Jefferson, Adams, the Enlightenment, contemporary history, and so much more that it goes without saying that I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to this program. It is awesome, Clay is awesome, and I eagerly look forward to each new program. Bravo.
28. Queenie and Lady: My two little girl beagle puppies, sisters, and lifelong friends. These two babies, rescued by my mother and I when they were at the age of two years old, were the delight of my family for as long as they lived. Queenie was athletic, long lived, affectionate, and a touch dim. Lady was intelligent, wary, and wounded; she never quite got over being bred in her first heat at the age of six months. I am so proud that as sisters they got to live out their lives together, with Lady going first after a series of seizures that left her circling our backyard in a mostly brain-dead state. I was in Ventnor, New Jersey when Queen passed away and neither Nancy nor I will ever forget the sadness of that day. To date I have had no dogs since, though I’m desperate for some. As a result their memories live very close to the surface of my heart. May they both rest in eternal and beautiful peace.
29. Gardening: My mother taught me how to garden when I was very young. It was one of many things that bonded her and me together and produced bounteous and wonderful results. Now that Nancy and I are together it is a skill that I can pass along both to she and to my family to be. I believe in self-sufficiency and I believe in the earth. My mother is taking a lot of heat lately for who she has become late in life, but gardening is a constant reminder of the wonderful experiences that we shared together and that though people change and sometimes not for the better that does not mean that all of the things that they have done for you and with you in your life are without value.
30. Susquehanna University: Perhaps it’s true that your earliest experiences really do form the backbone of your life. When I left Susquehanna in 1993, I was a frustrated and very disillusioned twenty-three-year-old. Dean Henry Diers had been manipulative, Cy had hidden information from me that would’ve benefited my education, Laura had cheated on me, and on and on and on. My life was scarred, I felt a profound loss of innocence, and I went home to Berks County full of anger and simultaneously with my tail bristling between my legs. But that said, I look back in comparison to the challenges that I’ve faced in the almost 20 years since I graduated and it now seems like some of the best times of my life. I was as close to people as I would ever be, opportunities for creativity were rampant, both of my parents were alive and supportive of me (and at a distance,) and I could eat anything I wanted and still look good. If it’s true time heals wounds, than I suppose this wound has long since closed. Thank you, Susquehanna University, for both the good and bad times. I miss you.