Reader responses: These are a few of your favourite things
From dancing alone to Bon Jovi to discovering candy floss frost, readers share some of the small treasures in their lives
Coquitlam’s Janet Wiltshire identified crème brûlée, "with the contrast of its crackly caramelized crust and the rich creamy custard below," as one of her favourite things.
Photograph by: Thinkstock, canada.com
To mark the much-anticipated Vancouver appearance of Oprah Winfrey on Thursday, Vancouver Sun columnist Shelley Fralic recently shared with readers a few of her “favourite things.”
While Fralic’s list relied less on retail finery — a hallmark of Winfrey’s annual My Favourite Things show on her popular daytime talkfest — but instead leaned toward the beauty of magnolia trees and her grandchildren’s inquisitive minds, her call to readers to share their favourites produced some intriguing responses.
From crème brûlée and hummingbirds to a bestselling Canadian children’s book and something called candy floss frost, readers proved that our favourite things don’t always come wrapped in a pretty bow. And that family is everything. Oh, and so is food.
Here, then, a sampling of favourite things from Sun readers:
Coquitlam’s Janet Wiltshire had a diverse list of faves, ranging from “white roses with a blush of pink around their fluted edges” to family memories, like the photograph of her and her late dad Rex Hundleby when she was four years old, the two of them sitting on the front porch of “our home that he lovingly, continuously renovated for 62 years. It has since been sold and demolished to make way for a home far more grandiose in style, that will likely never match our modest family home for the rich memories that it held.”
And there’s crème brûlée, she added, “with the contrast of its crackly caramelized crust and the rich creamy custard below,” along with hot scones served with Devon cream and apricot jam, and Canadian author Robert Munsch’s beloved story of mother and son, Love You Forever.
In Steveston, Paula DaSilva cited nature and knitting, the former a “hummingbird that sits every day in our backyard cherry tree (aren’t they supposed to be in Mexico for the winter?)” and the latter “mostly slippers, for my friends. (Warm feet are happy feet.)”
“The scent of a newborn baby’s head,” was tops for Kate Howie of Steveston, along with “happy jazz, cherry trees in bloom, my best friend and fresh ripe peaches.”
Vancouver’s Patricia Gray counts “a full cup of hot coffee with the crossword puzzle” among her faves, along with “the smell of strawberry jam cooking on the stove and “my daughter’s soft cheek against mine.”
Cynthia Wong of Burnaby’s favourite thing is her kitchen, “where it starts and finishes, the slow rising ebb of noise as the day begins with all the children here and there, and the then fabulous quiet of the night as they tuck themselves away in their rooms.”
Candy floss frost was at the top of Ruth Foster’s list. We’d never heard of it either, so the Belcarra resident sent along a photograph with her explanation: “I’ve been watching for this stuff for years and have only spotted it on the Mossom Creek watershed in Port Moody. This is where I have been volunteering at the salmon hatchery since 1976. It’s an ephemeral and delicate frost formation that you might spot if you visit a wet forested area early in the morning after a sub-zero night has followed some days of rain. Overnight, water molecules freeze and are slowly extruded from countless tiny pores in sodden sticks and fallen branches. The result looks like a Santa Claus beard, a beard that will melt quickly when the sun strikes it.”
Gayle Holden of Surrey looks to the perennial keepers: “Tucking into summer salads with avocado, cucumber and oranges, frosty winter morning dog-walks with Kiltie wearing my fuzzy purple alpaca gloves, chai tea and shortbread by the fire with a good book, long distance phone chats with my son, memorabilia from my hippie days, listening to Motown while washing the hardwood floors, potting new plants outdoors in late spring, getting Christmas cards in the mail from old friends who live in distant places, dark chocolate, my grandmother’s cedar chest, the picture of Elvis taken by my uncle Roland in Fort Hood, Texas, in 1958, my silver bracelet from the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian, my mini-Mac and finally the soapstone bird my mother carved 10 years before she died.”
Anna Rooney of Vancouver sent us a rather eclectic list as well: “A strong, fresh wind with a hint of cedar — it makes you feel excited and alive. My dog’s soft coat and big brown eyes. Hearing my parrot ask ‘are you OK?’ (always at the right time). Warming up with a pot of green tea after a walk in the pouring rain. Real wool socks. Really good cheese, any kind of olives, BBQ chicken, macadamia nuts, warm, juicy nectarines, fresh homemade bread, and hot cocoa before bed. Making anything myself, whether out of wood, fabric, yarn or ingredients. Seeing your vegetable garden actually produce vegetables. Walking on West 10th Ave. on Christmas Day when all the stores are closed. Puns. Getting a great deal on anything. Hand cream that smells like anything tropical. Hearing anyone laugh really hard. The feeling of relief when the plane sets down on the tarmac. Dancing at home to Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer when no one’s looking. Finding pants that actually fit.
Jan Coleman of North Vancouver: “The heated floor in my bathroom and my rainforest shower head. I have found heaven on earth! They even make getting out of bed on a winter morning tolerable!
I am compelled to include Mango Mousse Cake, yam fries and Bombay Sapphire gin, too.”
And lest you think only women have favourite things, consider the list submitted by Jimmy MacDonald of South Pender Island: “A blank day on my personal calendar. Meeting new arrivals in our neighbourhood. Swimming in the ocean in mid-August. Having grandchildren nearby. Not having to set the alarm clock. Weddings, reunions, and anniversary parties. Eating wild huckleberries right off the bush.”
Kate McMaster of White Rock sent a neat, Top 10 list that was rather heartfelt, with "my 93-year-old father-in-law’s eyes tearing up from laughing so hard at his own (and others) stories" and "my husband playing guitar, completely unaware that I am watching and adoring him" and "our four daughters' gentle hearts and unerring kindness." Oh, and "Tom Kah Gai Thai soup."
Pat Patton of White Rock's list is: "Swimming alone in a foggy sea. Holding my loved ones close in my heart no matter what, and smiling. Being lost in a good book and reading slower and slower so as not to reach the end. Being a useful member of my community. Live music. Generous hearts. A well-poured Guinness. Stillness in the centre of beauty. A garden."
Janet Cowley of Richmond: "Hugs, babies; a child’s hand in mine; people I love, round my table; making a great tennis or golf shot; hiking in the rain forest; cycling in the French countryside on a September morning; Barbra Streisand or Frank Sinatra singing."
Sherey Adamov of South Surrey: "A sign in my walk-in closet that reads: Why not dress up today?White hyacinths blooming with their intoxicating scent in my spring garden. Celebrating the seasons, birthdays and worthy occasions. Savouring the taste of the first berries of the season. Shovelling snow just because it's fun. Hearing the laughter of my grandsons when I chase after them. Essie 'Master Plan' nail polish because it's my one shade of grey. Having 'me time' . . . I know it makes me a better person."
Dunbar's Joan Ellis was rather stream-of-consciousness in her response to favourite things, with a long list that included "watching children feeding bunnies at Jericho Beach in front of a sign saying 'Don't feed the wildlife', finding a new bud on my old orchid plant, blue cheese, opening a new calendar, a crescent moon seen through our new skylight and did I mention homemade warm caramel sauce drizzled over vanilla ice cream."
Marilyn Elvidge of North Vancouver: "Spectacular sunset views from our sunroom, walking to the corner of our street on a sunny day for a breath-taking look at the Lions covered in new snow and the view of Mt. Baker on the horizon on a clear summer’s day from our cabin on Valdes Island. I love the aroma of bread baking and my favourite perfume, Shalimar. I’m thrilled when the snowdrops start to bravely bloom through the snow in our garden.
Pat Mourant of Surrey's fave things include "watching my grandson pitch in little league, the sight and smells of a golf course in the morning, my computer room whose walls are covered with favourite family photos and memories, spring, when my garden is waiting to surprise me, the beaches of Hawaii, the mountains of B.C., a phone call or mail from a friend, my children's smiles, Charles Dickens anything, the opening of the garden centre.
Chilliwack's Tanny Lindhout: "The sweet curve of my three-year-old granddaughter’s nose, inhaling the wonderful aroma of freshly-baked bread, the smell of rain on parched, thirsty earth, lying in bed and listening to robins chirping sleepily on an early spring morning, a chickadee’s song, an intricate spider web sparkling with dew drops, rosy winter sunsets, glistening depths of home-made blackberry jelly, the heavenly perfume of honeysuckle wafting on a warm summer evening breeze, the first bite into a sun-warmed ripe tomato, he crashing surf in Tofino, Chilliwack corn."
Kathleen Peacock of Coquitlam has a somewhat unusual fave: "One of my favourite things is the furnace. When I am lying in bed and I hear the furnace coming on and all that lovely hot air flowing through the house I am truly in my glory. The memories of when I was a child living in Ottawa always come flooding back. Getting out of bed was an ordeal. Your feet hit the cold linoleum and you had to make a mad dash downstairs to the pot-bellied stove in the kitchen and retrieve your clothes from the clothes horse behind the stove. Oh, the warmth was lovely but such hard work. The next thing, of course, was the bathroom and the water was freezing cold. Hot water is another of my favourite things. Just turning on the tap and there it is at your disposal. Then there is the dishwasher. What a treasure. On the serious side, one of my very favourite things is to hear a small child give a big belly laugh."
Sue Foote of Garibaldi Highlands has 10 top faves: 1. Sitting in my summer garden, smelling the roses. 2. My morning coffee. 3. The smiles that light up my granchildrens' faces. 4. A walk through
tall cedars with the rain falling through their boughs to the cries of the ravens. 5. A Sunday beef roast with roast veggies. 6. Music that demands I dance. 7. Looking into the soulful eyes of my chocolate
labrador. 8. The mountain and water views along the Sea to Sky highway in all weathers. 9. Eggs, bacon and mushrooms for breakfast. 10. Smoked haddock.
And this, simply, from Lynn Heyman of Burnaby: "Nothing can beat flannelette sheets on a cold January night."
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