I sent an email to a few dozen people in mid-December of 2001. It was one of those silly chain-letter-type messages that asks a bunch of questions that you’re supposed to answer and then forward to your friends so they can learn more about you. They were pretty common a decade ago, though I hardly see them these days.

Of course my mom was one of the people to whom I sent it. And of course she replied. I’ve lost the original message, so now all I have are her responses, but they’re still pretty interesting.

— Here goes…..

1. Living arrangement
Just me and Little One, Fingerpup, and Shia Khan 1

2. Books you are reading now
“Lord of the Rings,” “Free Fall in Crimson”

3. What’s on your mouse pad?
Gator – gift from David

4. Favorite board game
Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit

5. Favorite magazine
National Geographic – I wish I could afford it

6. Favorite smells
Spring morning, candied sweet potatoes cooking 2

6a. Least favorite smell
Diesel engines!!! Burning rubber

7. Favorite sounds
my kids’ voices, wind, rain, waves

8. Worst feeling in the world
knowing that I’ve hurt someone I love (ditto) 3

9. Favorite color
orange and blue (ditto), outside of football, green

10. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
I wish I had a job

11. How many rings before you answer the phone?
as soon as I can get to it

12. Future child’s name
“My wonderful grandchild….”

13. What is most important in life?
Love and peace

14. Favorite foods

14. Chocolate or vanilla
Chocolate (Ditto)

15. Do you like to drive fast?
on a clear road in good weather

16. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?
does Shia Khan count?

17. Storms – cool or scary?
Cool, unless they get to category 4

18. What type was your first car?
black, 65 (or so) Chevy

19. If you could meet one person dead or alive, who would it be?
Harrison Ford, John D. MacDonald

20. Favorite alcoholic drink
Coors Light 4

21. Favorite non-alcoholic drink
Caffeine-free Diet Coke 5

22. Zodiac sign

23. Do you eat stems of broccoli?
No – yecch

24. If you could have any job you wanted, what would it be?
Best-selling novelist

25. If you could dye your hair any color, which would you pick?
I try to find a close match to my natural color because it’s the one thing I have always loved about myself. 6

26. Have you ever been in love?
I have loved deeply, but I don’t think I have ever really been in love – I would like to be….

27. Is the glass half empty or half full?
Depends on the weather.

28. Favorite movie(s)
Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Natural, Ben Hur, Coming to America, Braveheart, Fugitive, Last of the Mohicans, and LOTS more…..

29. Do you type with your fingers on the keys?
Actually, I communicate telekinetically with my keyboard – what a silly qusetion!

30. Favorite TV show
THE WEST WING! I hate all of the Law and Orders, I still like Friends

31. What’s under your bed?
Artwork I did in college and a couple of fuzzballs. Probably a couple of Shia Khan’s toys.

32. Favorite number
6/26 and 5/22 7

33. Favorite sport to watch
College Football!!! (Ditto)

34. Favorite music groups in high school
The Beatles, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, The Chad Mitchell Trio

35. Say one nice thing about the person who sent this
He’s my favorite son. And he’s a good man. I am proud of him – all the time.

36. Person you sent this to who is most likely to respond
Mom, because she loves me! Yes, she does. 8

37. Person you sent this to who is least likely to respond
Harrison Ford…..just kidding!

1 Little One and Fingerpup were our dogs; Shia Khan was her cat.
2 She loved making me candied sweet potatoes at holidays. They were delicious.
3 She put “(ditto)” to indicate that her answer was the same as what I had written in my email.
4 I can probably count on one hand the times I remember my mother ever having an alcoholic drink. She wasn’t an alcoholic and she didn’t hate drinking or anything like that; she just never enjoyed the taste of it. Once in a blue moon she’d share a beer with me and tell me she really loved the taste of it, though, so I have no idea why she never really drank.
5 The last time I saw her in person, I left her sitting alone in a wheelchair, staring into space and nearly catatonic, having just eaten a Hershey’s Kiss and drinking a can of Diet Coke through a straw.
6 I never really knew this about my mom.
7 My birthday and my sister’s birthday
8 I wrote the first sentence. She wrote the second.