One of my all time favorite country singers is the legendary Tom T. Hall. His songs always carry messages that make sense to me. One of those songs entitled Faster Horses (The Cowboy and the Poet) lists the mysteries, and therefore the best things (in his opinion) life has to offer, in this order:
1) Faster Horses
2) Younger Women
3) Older Whiskey
4) More Money
While some members of my home community probably believe that those are my preferred activities it’s not really true. In actuality I’m kind of old fashioned.
I like simple stuff. If you need verification on this point I’m sure my wife and children will laughingly attest to this statement. Therefore, I have listed four categories and will attempt to describe things in those categories that make me happiest and those that I detest. These groupings include:
1) Outdoor sports
2) Indoor sports
4) Equipment and clothes
My outdoor sporting adventures (as of this moment) are vastly reduced from, say 40 years ago when Tom T and I would have been in complete accord. Nowadays my outdoor endeavors typically include fishing, hunting, golfing, watching football games and cutting vast amounts of grass.
I really like going fishing by myself and enjoying the peace and quiet of a lake. I’ve also found that getting to go is the main attraction and catching fish is merely a bonus. Conversely, I abhor flipping my john boat over and finding a big fat snake curled up under it.
I love to go on a jaunt down the river to catch white bass or red bellied bream. On the other hand I’m not crazy about running into hidden wasp and hornet nests along the way. They have a way of stealing the joy from my day.
Other downers include a hook sunk below the barb in my flesh and a partner who has heard of a new-fangled way to remove it using a pair of rusty needle nosed pliers.
When it comes to football I’m really old fashioned. I prefer the high school game to professional and I like to see teams run the ball, referees that are in position and fans that yell for their team instead of pretending to be the coach. I’ll drive a couple hundred miles over country back roads to see two good high school teams play in the playoffs but wouldn’t go to a professional game in a limousine even if I had seats on the 50-yard line.
I love to play golf with my buddies. There is nothing like a good competitive match between friends who are constantly pestering each other over six-foot putts where the bet is an insignificant sum but victory or defeat is on the line.
There is however a down side to the game because one of the things I loathe is to get into one of these contests only to come down with a severe case of the shanks which I am known to do.
As for indoor sports I do enjoy watching basketball but unfortunately most of my indoor activities presently include vacuuming and dusting the house.
The only spectator in this sport is my wife and her white glove inspection that follows my endeavor typically results in a failing grade. I am not very good at these games and therefore am considering giving them up entirely.
Another indoor sport that I have participated in more frequently of late is that of going to the doctor. While a visit to my local practitioner can be helpful, it seems that more often than not it turns out to be an occasion for him to pop on one of those thin little plastic gloves and I now flinch involuntarily when that sound is made. I am considering giving up this game as well.
I’m really old fashioned when it comes to food. I’ll take beanie weenies and saltine crackers if I’m fishing on the lake, vanilla ice cream over all those other fruity flavors, Phillip Crowe’s ribs any day and the Varsity over everything else on the planet.
I’m a carnivore who has no place on my palate for asparagus, boiled beets or cold soup even if it has a fancy name and a high price tag. I’ll tell you one other thing that I dislike intensely. Restaurants that charge $2.50 for a glass of iced tea that tastes as if it was brewed in an old shoe.
Lastly we come to equipment and clothes. My pickup truck is an object of derision all around Morgan County. It is old, dirty, and has a dashboard that looks like a jigsaw puzzle because it has dry rotted out. I love that truck. It cranks every day, runs like a champ, and is a courier for trash, limbs and my beloved john boat. It’s also paid for.
I have no desire to get a shiny new one because I would not be able to get it muddy or haul stuff in it and besides they cost more than my first house did in 1981.
Finally, I must admit that I’m not a clothes horse. I catch the dickens from family and friends alike for wearing thirty-year-old sweatshirts from my coaching days along with white crew socks.
I used to love those over the calf socks but changed to crew socks about 20 years ago and now wear nothing else. I hate those ankle socks and you will not catch me wearing them unless I’ve gone stark raving mad.
So as the song goes, these are a few of my favorite things – and please don’t tell Tom T. because I’d hate for him to know that I’ve fallen off of my fast horse.
(E-mail your favorite things to firstname.lastname@example.org)