J-Blu is definitely my favourite. When i arrived to begin the canning on Friday morning, she was waiting at the door, wearing the apron Nana must have made her. (i know this, because the fabric was suspiciously identical to the fabric in my bridesmaids' dresses many moons ago.) She preserved peaches and brined beets for several hours with us, taking breaks from time to time to pound out a song on the piano, or make us all a cup of tea. Together, she and i stood our ground against the determined Italian grandmas in the grocery store who called dibs on every bushel of tomatoes in stock. We loaded up our three bushels, and got the heck out of there. Every now and then, she leans up against me, just to make sure i don't forget she's there. she's definitely my favourite.
of course, the Punk is right up there too. He's certainly my favourite, in fact. Halfway through Canning Day 2, i realized i was reaching new levels of dehydration, and spontaneously announced that whoever got me a cold drink right now would be my new favourite. He won. Probably more for the momentary challenge in an uninteresting day, than for compassion for his aunt, but at that moment motives were irrelevant. Much of the time, he observes life with a cool, dry wit, but when he bursts out laughing at his own funny story, nothing is held back. A belly laugh that rolls up and takes over, until i can't help but laugh with him, even though i haven't even heard the punch line. He assures me that i am still cool, and he's old enough to know differently. he's certainly my favourite.
and then there's the Bean. Without a doubt, he is my favourite. He spent hours on Saturday standing on his stool in front of a hot stove, carefully ladling tomatoes into and out of boiling water, clad only in pajama bottoms. Calmly ignoring my worried admonitions about being careful not to burn himself, he graciously said nothing when i plunged my own hand into icy water and hollered for aloe vera. When the others left to get lunch and more jars, he and i split and peeled a third of a bushel of tomatoes all on our own. We also shared a cinnamon bun. At unexpected moments I discover his arms wrapped around me, or his little body snuggled in beside me on the couch. Without a doubt, he is my favourite.
and i can't forget slash, the black lab who seems to have gone straight from a puppy who ran in circles underneath your petting hand, to an old dog who positions himself in such a way that he can see everything at once with minimal movement. food still excites him, but as i sat on the couch refusing to share my half of the cinnamon bun with him, his head slowly dropped onto my knee and he fell asleep there. it's possible that he is my favourite, after all.