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December 3, 2013

A Canuck in Kantuck: The Tides that pulled me here

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — This year for Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law Teresa has us all ranking our favorite things in life. It’s a list of 20 different questions — what’s your favorite book, favorite song, favorite Christmas memory, favorite food, favorite T.V. show — and last night Gabrielle and I sat filling it out.

While choosing favorites is a somewhat painful exercise for Gabrielle and her dad, I absolutely love it. Ranking things is part of my DNA and, much to Gabrielle’s dismay, each family vacation always ends with me asking her to list her top three favorite things about the trip. For me, ranking is a light-hearted way to count one’s blessings, review an experience and be reminded how lucky you were to have it.

Anyway, one of the favorites questions was to choose my favorite quote and, with absolutely no hesitation, I started writing, “My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call.”

The quote is from the book “The Prince of Tides” by Pat Conroy. Regardless of what you thought of Nick Nolte and Barbra Streisand in the movie (I didn’t think much of either of them, to tell you the truth), the book is one of my favorites — though not the favorite, that spot is reserved for “The Sun Also Rises.” For those of you who haven’t read “Prince,” I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a beautiful, magnetic read about family, mental illness, childhood, new love and, most importantly for me, South Carolina.

I read the book when I was in high school upon the recommendation of my friend Molly Kirk. She was a big reader, in no small part because she had an uncle who worked for some kind of book-binding company so she always had a lot of books whose front covers had been ripped off. She introduced me first to John Irving’s “The World According to Garp” and “A Prayer for Owen Meany.”

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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