Questions and answers in a field of sunflowers

Back in December, The Armchair Squid honored me with this award.

Sorry to disappoint  you, but I will give no acceptance speeches that flaunt my politics. I like how “the Squid” modified the original rules:

  • You don’t have to display anything you don’t want to.
  • You don’t have to pass on the award to others in order to accept it for yourself.  You are thoroughly deserving without having to jump through any hoops.
  • You also don’t have to answer my questions, though I hope you will.  I am genuinely interested in your responses.
  • Simply know that I am grateful for our blogsphere friendship.

I’m finally getting around to these questions, which I found interesting and fun to ponder. Here’s my answer.

If you could live one year of your life over again, which year would you choose and why?
Is this a trick question? In Thornton Wilder’s play, “Our Town,” Emily Gibbs is allowed to go back and see one day of her life. It is suggested that she go back to an insignificant day, for it’s going to be so difficult. That said, maybe 1987, when I completed most of the Appalachian Trail. But that’s probably one of the more significant instead of insignificant years of my life.

If you could learn to be an expert at something without putting in the work, what would it be?
A violinist

If you could learn a new language instantly, which would you choose and why?
Mandarin  I might as well know what most of the world is saying behind my back.

If you could give $1 million to any charity, which would you choose?
A charity that works with disabled or disadvantaged children.

When was your Robert Frost moment a la “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood…”?  The poem says you can’t go back and that is true.  “Way leads on to way” and so forth.  But if you could, would you?  What is the difference you think it would have made?
It was one winter in Michigan, when the snow was deep and I had shoveled a path to the driveway and another to a large locust tree for obvious reasons. Then, warming up inside by the fireplace, I pinned these immortal lines (with apologies to Robert Frost):

Two roads diverged in yellow snow,
And glad I am not to travel both
One traveler with four legs runs to the tree
And looks down as he hunkers low
And lifts his leg to take a pee

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Some where ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged from my front porch, and I—
I took the one with the white snow,
And that has made all the difference

Of course, it didn’t make much difference, but I got a laugh out of it.

Time travel: where would you go and when?  Why?
Virginia City, Nevada in 1875.  Having spent a lot of time studying and writing about Virginia City and the role the church played there, that was an interesting year. It was the year of the big fire and the interesting split within the Presbyterian Church. Visiting would allow me to see how much I got right in my history.

Who would you want on your fictional character bowling team?  You get to pick four.
Yosemite Sam, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse and Yogi Bear…

What would you want for your last meal?
I’d be like Jefferson in Ernest Gaines novel, A Lesson Before Dying, who asked for a whole gallon of ice cream and a pot spoon to eat it with. He’d never had enough ice cream, he said, and while I’ve never been as poor as him, I’ve never had enough ice cream, either. By the way, it’s a tradition on the Appalachian Trail to eat a half gallon of ice cream at the half-way point. I didn’t do it at time, eating only a quart!

What’s your favorite song?
Can I have two?  A modern one and an ancient one?  Why yes, I can, my conscience tells me, but remember the Armchair Squid teaches music! Okay, then two it’ll be:

“Deacon Blues” by Steely Dan and “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
I’m just barely an extrovert on the Myers-Briggs scale.  That seems right as there are times I like being in crowds, but I also need to retreat into “me time.”

If you came over to my home and I offered you a drink, what would you want me to serve you?
I would ask for your best bourbon on the rocks, unless it’s Derby Day, then I’d ask for a mint julep. If it’s St. Andrews Day or Burn’s Night, let’s have Scotch or maybe a Rusty Nail.

20 Replies to “Questions and answers in a field of sunflowers”

  1. Awesome! Thank you for playing.

    Your poem about yellow snow made me laugh.

    Have you read Twain’s Roughing It? Strikes me as the sort of book you’d have read but you should if you haven’t given your interest in Virginia City.

    I guess I should stock up on whiskey before you come over! Not that it’s a hardship…

    1. Oh yes, I’ve read “Roughing It” at least 4 times, taught a 4 week adult class on it a few years ago, and back in the 90s, wrote an article on Twain and clergy in Nevada (“Of Ministers, Funerals, and Humor: Mark Twain of the Comstock”) published in the “Nevada Historical Society Quarterly” that had genesis with a chapter in “Roughing It”. If you send me your email, I’d be glad to scan and send you a pdf of it.

  2. I enjoyed reading your answers and learning a little more about you. I don’t know how to limit my favorite song to just one or two titles. There is a long list of those. Thanks for the smiles from this post.

  3. Time travel: where would you go and when? Why?

    I didn’t see that answer coming. Personally, with so many interesting but lost points in human history, I’d have a hard time choosing a single era.

    1. I agree. Maybe, if I was more spiritual, I’d ask to be taken back to Eden. I could also learn the secret of how to grow the best tomatoes :-)!

  4. Interesting responses. I always like to learn new things about the bloggers I follow.

    I’m definitely an introvert.
    Learn to be an expert at something, it would probably be singing if that was possible.
    I don’t think I would want to live any of my life over again.

  5. Love your answers, and thank you for your visit to my blog.
    I am emphatically an introvert. I like people (mostly) but often find them overwhelming.
    I don’t want to go back (or forward) in time. This life is enough.
    Smiling at the yellow snow. Something I rarely see in any colour.

  6. Loved reading your comments. I would probably consider myself more of an introvert but others would classify me as an extrovert. I do well in social situations but would just as soon go off in the woods by myself.

    A nice scotch would work for me.

    Thanks Bob. I’m going to have to find my Dan Fogelberg tunes. I often wish he had lived to a ripe old age.

    1. You know, I used to mainly drink Scotch, but that was when bourbon was “Jim Beam” or such. Now, with the micro-distilleries, there’s a lot of good bourbon being distilled in this country.

  7. This is an excellent set of questions and I enjoyed reading your answers. I liked your poem, too… but of course I would with all the mutts I have.

    My bowling team would beat yours since I’d have Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble on mine.

    1. I’d forgotten that they are bowlers. But you never know who’ll wind. Yosemite Sam might pull out his six-shooters and blast the pins 🙂

  8. Always fun to learn a little more about a blog friend. I’ve never done any testing, but everything I’ve read, including the excellent book “Quiet” by Susan Cain would indicate I’m an introvert. I love people but they make me tired. I have a favorite hymn (“Christ the Lord is Risen Today”) but have never been able to come up with a favorite song. Today I would say “Old Tennessee” by Dan Fogelberg, but that would change by next week.

    1. I found the song to be a hard choice, it was easier to pick a hymn, but “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” really needs to be played on a pipe organ in a rock church building.

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