in a recent chicago tribune “sunday magazine” article a noted fashion designer waxed eloquently about the twelve “favorite things” he said he cannot live without.
among the items listed were his custom-designed yacht made of a special material that absorbed the light in different ways and would change the color of his boat. he was also proud of his collection of emile galle’ vases and owning several patek phillippe watches. additional “must” items included his ferraris — testarossa and maranello models.
ah and so, such are the high priced belongings of the jet-set beautiful people. however, after reflecting on the “tribune” magazine piece, i composed my own list of graybeard favorites. of course my starving artist economics most definitely influence more simple tastes. also, my advancing maturity provides a strong argument against the acquisition of additional material belongings. there is absolutely no sense in collecting anymore “stuff” that eventually someone else will have to toss in the dumpster.
1) garlic — since i rarely dine out, i make the most of my meals at home. i cannot remember the last time that i did not use garlic as an integral part of my basic bardic menu. i feel that garlic enhances the flavor of my cooking, as well as provides a “lived in” culinary aroma for my kitchen. i do have to admit that a wedge of prime sharp cheddar cheese is a close second to garlic for my meals.
2) pilot “razorpoint ii” felt-tip pens — these are a writing must, and i purchase them in boxes of a dozen pens each.
3) mead 4×6 “spiral” composition books with green covers — i constantly shop the groceries, discount stores and pharmacies for these memo books. i feel a distinct absence if i forget to carry one when traveling.
4) hannah and her sisters — occasionally i forgo the powerful films like “citizen kane,” the “godfather” series, french ‘new wave’ and italian ‘neorealism’ movies. this woody allen film possesses the ability to cure an occasional fit of blackass funk that sometimes comes over me. i enjoy the ability of the film characters to pursue goals, fail and yet pick themselves up and continue pushing toward a successful conclusion.
5) cold water — it is a special enjoyment to slake my thirst drinking with cupped hands from a small backwoods stream, or a watery seep flowing from a “cliffs” opening. however, a warm leninkugel red label is a distinct rival.
6) silence — i must have silence in my personal life and particularly when wrestling with creative works. the silence i have experienced during the early winter mornings while hiking and climbing in the “cliffs” is especially intoxicating. yet, the rock-and-roll oldie “rock around the clock” by bill haley can still set off a rush of teenage nostalgia. also there was once a time when daily i would listen to carl orff’s “carmina burana” once, twice or several times.
7) mysterious island – traplines north – starbuck valley winter — i have acquired and reread the jules verne, stephen meader and roderick haig-brown books that were my literary favorites when i was young “tommy.” as a young boy growing up i still miss not having the adventure of running my own trapline, but ah, mother.
8) north face down vest — i have already worn out and thus retired my north face down filled parka. however, my vest is a very handy piece of wearing apparel for upper peninsula winters. it provides a great deal of flexibility for arm and upper body movements while tending such tasks as hiking, shoveling snow and cutting wood.
9) black wool watch cap — the “yooper” natives joke about the upper peninsula weather, saying there are two seasons in the north, july and eleven months of pretty tough sledding. my dollar store wool watch cap works extremely well keeping my brain-skull cavity safe from frostbite or worse.
10) mountain lion tattoo — i have been quite fortunate to view four mountain lions during my hiking and climbing in the “cliffs.” i celebrated my first mountain lion sighting with a jeff stroud tattoo. “free bird’s” outstanding body artwork is most definitely one of my prized possessions.
11) hiking in the “cliffs” — hiking and climbing the trails in the “cliffs” gives me the opportunity to find momentary clarity in my creative life. for a brief moment i feel that i am one with nature, enjoying wild animals, birds, trees, streams, and the usual wilderness surprises.
12) .357 smith-wesson magnum — the .357 “maggie” is my bluecross and blueshield insurance policy.