A peek through a keyhole can unlock doors to whole new worlds. As a child, I was enamored of a recording my Dad had of Scheherazade. The violin passages in this lovely piece still bring up goosebumps on my arms and I’ll try to be sure to be near the radio if it’s played on WVTF, my local Public Radio station. Another musical treat was watching the Young People’s Concerts with Leonard Bernstein. I liked to imagine Bernstein as my secret Uncle Drosselmeyer – but instead of a magical nutcracker, he brought magical music.

These two early exposures to classical music have shaped my lifelong love of the genre – and I sometimes wonder; if my Dad hadn’t had that Rimsky-Korsakov vinyl – would I now be able to recognize the voices of Andrea Bocelli, Luciano Pavarotti, Bryn Terfel, Renee Fleming and Cecelia Bartoli? That first peek into the world of classical music simply whetted my appetite and made me hungry for more.

I don’t remember the first experience that sent me down the road of devoted animal lover, but my Mom tells me that any time we visited friends or relatives when I was very young – the household dog always took a liking to me, even if they weren’t known to be particularly good with children. I’m sure the first experience was a positive one – and whether it was the warm, fuzzy tactile experience or the warm, fuzzy spiritual experience – I’ve been an animal lover ever since.

Books have been a part of my life since pre-memory. Whatever board or cloth book took my fancy as a baby launched me into a world where I now joke that if we (my husband, our daughter and myself) acquire any more books, we’re going to have to live in the barn with the horses because there won’t be room in the house…. One of the main joys of books? They provide yet more keyholes through which to peek into new worlds. New experiences into which we can dip our toes to see if the water is just right before taking any actual plunge.

This past weekend, James and I attended the Carlisle Import and Kit Nationals in Pennsylvania. As a lover of all things British (including James ;-), I have a particular fondness for British cars. This love is not only shared by James, it’s amplified (to an amazing degree). Our first British sports car was an MG Midget we owned in the UK in the early 80’s. This gave us a taste of these cute and quirky little autos that would be set aside for a few decades after we moved back to the US, only to be rekindled

(with a flame thrower), over the last few years. We now own several British cars including MGB’s, (that’s my MGB, named Cyril, in the photo), Jaguars, a Land Rover and a Range Rover. Most have been purchased needing work (sometimes LOTS of work), many found on eBay, and all inexpensive. It’s become a fun hobby for James and I to share – and it all stemmed from Oscar – our first little Midget owned 30 years ago….

With the advance of electronic communication, you can spend half an hour searching the web and find dozens of activities you never new existed (and I’m only referring to the legal and socially acceptable ones). Maybe an interview or news article mentioned something, which led you to Google something, which led to something else and now you’re deeply involved in the world of whatever….. all because of a casual reference.

My point to all this? Be curious – let a random remark lead you to a door, and peek through the keyhole to see what wonderful world is on the other side. Your curiosity is the only key you need – and, to quote Dr. Seuss – “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”. Travel well, my friend.