by David Sisler

Julie Andrews told us about a few of her favorite things — raindrops and whiskers and doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles — and other antidotes for bee stings. I have been thinking about a few of mine. And some not so favorites.

Leading the list of not so favorites, at least for this gathering of the clans, are Christians who circulate petitions urging the rest of us to write the FCC protesting Petition 2493. That way, Madelyn Murray O'Hair cannot take religious broadcasting off of the airwaves. Fact: In December, 1974, a petition from Jeremy D. Lansman and Lorenzo W. Milam (assigned the number 2493) asked the FCC to inquire into the operating practices of religious education organizations. Mrs. O'Hair has never had anything to do with that petition (which was denied on August 1, 1975) but more than 20 years later, the FCC still gets bags of mail.

Most television commercials rank high in my list of annoyances, nudging out a higher spot for station logos which are superimposed over everything but the commercials.

How about the ads for "rubber gloves" which advertise "new and improved." Let's see. Most of us still have one thumb per hand and four other digits. What is the improvement?

The leader of the pack has to be pet food spots which claim to have "Improved Taste." Who tasted it? If the tasters were dogs or cats, how do the humans know the animals thought it tasted better? How are you going to trust a creature who is just as happy to eat grass or a variety of dead things as he is the stuff his owner spoons from a can?

And I am really tired of pet food commercials with linen, crystal and other accouterments of fine dining when upwards of half of the world's population will go to bed hungry tonight (and one-fourth of the people on this planet will die, never having known a full stomach).

That list only begins to scratch the surface — and there are some other annoying places which need scratching — but on to a few of my favorite things.

The latest Jim Chee/Joe Leaphorn novel by Tony Hillerman is one of life's pleasures. In the non-fiction side, throw in something new by Max Lucado. And speaking of reading, email from my family and friends is always great.

I don't know who first said this next one. I would give proper credit if I could. "A quiet house, an unread book, and a hot pot of coffee" are real treasurers.

When most drivers think your rear seat is the place for their front bumper (the twenty-something brunette in the late model red sedan who regularly follows me on Wheeler Road, you know who you are) and when most drivers think civility is expressed by a one-fingered wave, a smile breaks out all over my face when someone honks his or her car horn at me and motions me out into traffic. A real wave of friendship to everyone for whom courtesy is more important than saving a few seconds.

Teaching the "New Beginnings" Sunday school class always gets my week off to a good start. The folks who worship God while listening to me expound weekly from His Word have not learned that laughing at my jokes, or smiling when something I have said reaches inside where they really live, is just like saying "Sic ‘em" to a dog.

Visiting in Samara, Russia, is definitely one of my favorite things. I took half of my belongings the first summer I went to Samara. I now travel with one carry-on suitcase and take more clothes in it than most of my Russian friends have in their wardrobes. However, if I admire too openly something they own, that treasure comes back to Georgia in my suitcase. To turn down their gift of generosity would be a horrible stab at their giving hearts. And they are so in love with Jesus that I am often embarrassed by my own slight devotion.

Listening to the soundtrack from the Broadway musical "Cats" happens at least twice a month at my house. Seeing "Cats" in person, nine times, is even better.

Since Amy married Jack and Jennifer married George, there are some lonesome spots around the house. Kids getting married and starting their own families is life's way of sharing the joys of the last generation with one yet to be born, but that just makes Sunday lunch at the Sisler house with all of the family home one of my favorite things.

The steward at a wedding one day told the bridegroom, "You have saved the best for last." Following his example, the love of the Lord God Almighty, who sent his only Son to die for me, that is the pinnacle of my favorite things.


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 1/23/99

Copyright 1999 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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