Based on childhood reminiscence and family lore, I’m
pretty sure that the only time my grandparents went to a movie theatre
between 1939 (Gone with the Wind) and their demise late in the century was
in 1965, when they went with my family to see The Sound of Music, with Julie
Andrews and Christopher Plummer. They loved that movie. They loved it so
much, it seems they never felt the need to go to another movie ever again.
My mother loves that movie, too, to the point of owning a copy of it. My
wife and daughter both love the movie as well, with the soundtrack being one
of the few records my wife owned as a child.
The point is, The Sound of Music — the movie and the
songs, especially My Favorite Things — is, you guessed it, one of my
family’s favorite things.
What are your favorite things? Cooperative Living wants
to know. And, no, we’re not looking for “Best Place in the Commonwealth
to View Raindrops on Roses,” and there’s no category for “Best Set of
Whiskers on a Virginia Kitten.” And there’s not even a category for
“Brightest Virginia Copper Kettle,” much less “Warmest Old Dominion
Woolen Mittens.” So turn off My Favorite Things, put away the soundtrack
to The Sound of Music, and put on your thinking cap. We want to know your
favorite things, in 10 absolutely random categories selected by our magazine
staff on a totally unscientific basis.
The only thing these categories share is an
unapologetic passion for Virginia. So share with us your preferences in 10
“best of” categories, and we’ll share the results of our third annual
“Reader’s Choice Awards” in our August 2006 issue.
Send us a postcard, a letter, or an e-mail (to our
managing editor, Bill Sherrod, at email@example.com) listing your name,
address, and phone number, your electric cooperative, the number or name of
the category(ies) in which you’re voting, and your selection in each
category to: Reader’s Choice Awards, c/o Cooperative Living, P.O. Box
2340, Glen Allen, VA 23058-2340. Or, you may vote
online by clicking here. By whichever method you choose to vote, the
deadline for entries is May 1.
Without further ado, the categories are:
Virginia Antique Shop
Best Virginia Musician or Band
Best Virginia Crabcake
Favorite Virginia Lake
Best Virginia Hiking or Biking Trail
Favorite Virginia NASCAR Driver
Favorite Virginia Author
Best Virginia Pick-Your-Own Produce Farm
Best Virginia High School Spirit
You may vote in any or all of the 10 categories,
but please put each vote on a separate sheet of paper, or in a separate
e-mail. All your votes can be sent together.
To prime the pump, and perhaps please a few readers and
rile up many more of you, I’ll share some of my picks in these categories.
I will add a caveat, though: This is only my spur-of-the-moment, knee-jerk
response to these categories, and there are many, many other worthy Virginia
people and places that deserve votes, so PLEASE GET BUSY VOTING!
My initial reaction would be to vote for:
any antique shop on Route 11 in the Shenandoah Valley.
Ella Fitzgerald (remember, we never said the people had to be living!).
The Island House Restaurant, in Wachapreague on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
One of the “mountain” brothers (or are lakes feminine?), Smith Mountain
Lake, or Mountain Lake.
Almost any trail (strike the word “almost”) in Highland County.
Either of the Burton brothers (it’s definitely brothers in this case,
unlike my uncertainty in number 4), Jeff or Ward of South Boston.
A close call. But I pick Annie Dillard over Tom Wolfe, by a wolf’s
Ashland Berry Farm.
A tie between Central of Lunenburg High School and Bath County High School.
The love of these communities for their high school football teams is
10) The late
Thomas Cannon, a retired Richmond postal carrier of modest means, who lived
in near-poverty in order to give away virtually all that he had to help
those in need.
Okay, okay — I know … I chose more than one winner
in several of the categories, so it may seem unfair that we’re asking you
to choose only one winner per category.
But please, send us your votes in these 10
very-Virginia categories. And before you begin playing the song My Favorite
Things again, remember, we DON’T want to know the best place to see wild
geese flying with the moon on their wings, or the best mountain peak to
experience snowflakes that stay on your nose and eyelashes. And, no, we’re
not looking for the best place in our beloved Commonwealth for crisp apple
strudels or schnitzel with noodles.
Nor, for that matter, are we looking for the best place
to find a silver-white winter melting into spring … In fact, it’s hard
to even remember the last time we had a silver-white winter here. And
speaking of winters, I imagine being curled up in a cushy armchair next to a
roaring fire, with a good book and a cup of cocoa, alternately reading,
sipping the warm chocolate, and looking out through a frosty pane on snow
gently whooshing down on a rolling white landscape. Now THAT would be one of
my favorite things.
So, please, look at our list, and send us YOUR