And your bird can sing

bumpercropFather and son are locked in battle. From the intensity of their voices, surely it is significant–the nature of man, the origin of the universe, the meaning of life.

None of the above. The debate? What do you consider to be the seven wonders of the world?

I remember looking them up in the World Book when I was young. There was a list for the man-made wonders, and another one for the natural wonders. I still think about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon every time I see an ad for one of those upside-down tomato plants. I suspect they were more wondrous, although I think hanging a tomato plant from your eaves is pretty nifty, assuming one gets actual tomatoes from it.

The question of one’s personal seven wonders is a personality test of sorts. It reveals a great deal about what one values. As in most research, what is top of mind is as telling as what comes after deliberation.

My husband’s first candidate for wonderitem status? Google. Yes. Google.

Google is pretty cool. One can find just about anything using Google, except for “smart violist,” which will lead to did you mean smart violinist? Violin players never get tired of pointing this out to viola players.

The Dude takes exception. “It has to be something REAL.” Apparently Google is not real because he cannot understand how it works, despite several attempts at fatherly exposition. I can’t understand it either, but I’m willing to go with the flow on that one. I don’t understand how television works, but it’s not going to stop me from watching “Downton Abby.”

“So give us something real,” my husband says.

“Atlantis.” My husband and I laugh so hard we can hardly breathe.

“Really Dude? Atlantis?”

The Dude rolls his eyes. “Not that Atlantis. The Resort.”

My husband is dumbfounded. I totally get it. In fact, I had mentioned it two nights prior. “The place with the water slide that goes through the shark tank?”

My son is relieved that one of us is a normal human being.

“Atlantis and Fenway.”

I give the Dude a high five.

My husband isn’t on board. “The internet. ”

“You’re so predictable,” says the Dude, as if he himself isn’t.

They continue to argue, and they don’t ask me for my answer, but I think of one anyway.

Brahms. Real sourdough bread, warm. That feeling I get when I first slip into bed after a long day. A really good laugh that sneaks up on me. A kiss. A story that makes me forget who I am while I walk through its words, especially my own. Cappuccino.

I’m supposed to stop at seven, but I’m on a roll. Warm laundry. Cold champagne. Frozen grapes. Fall leaves. A perfectly poached egg. Basil. A freshly picked tomato, grown either right-side up or upside-down.

And I realize that most of these wonders are at my fingertips every damn day. The world is a pretty wonderful place. Even when your family is arguing at the dinner table about something sort of ridiculous. And I realize that is wonderful too. As is getting dinner cooked for you every night. Funny how they didn’t mention that. Tomorrow I’m ordering pizza. That’s gotta be on the list somewhere.

Words by J. B. Everett

Photograph “Bumper Crop” by timlewisnm Β© 2009 Creative Commons

7 comments on “And your bird can sing

  1. Zan Marie says:

    Oh, I love your list! The internet is fascinating and Atlantis is good for a week, but give my a pot of perfectly brewed tea, a good read, and a warm man. Not necessarily in that order. πŸ˜‰

  2. Veronica Roth says:

    Ordering pizza for delivery is definitely on the list, as is fresh sushi; two things I can’t get in Oxfordshire where I want them all the time and can get in Vancouver where i seldom do.

  3. MGB says:

    Fantastic. One of my favorites…

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