I guess what I'm trying to say is: right now, the entire universe is only a few seconds away from bursting into applause.

I love the sun. Any time of day, but especially morning. I also like paper plates—the flimsy kind that aren't stiff enough to hold a spoonful of potato salad. And barbecues. I like conversations at barbecues. Folks hardly ever talk about work, or bills. But about kids, sports, and how crazy Uncle John is.

He's nuts.

I'm crazy about pencils, rickety screen doors, old folks, quiet folks, loud folks, zinnias, and mobile homes. I like the sound of wind blowing through the woods—like the earth exhaling.

And coffee.

I once spent an entire summer in Georgia with relatives who drank decaf. Worst summer of my life. I didn't have the

personality God gave a houseplant.

And, I like yellow. As a boy, I preferred blue. But someone told me blue was depressing. So, I tried to like yellow. After several years, I can't get enough of it.

I like George Jones, Steel Magnolias, Delta Burke, and stories told by people with white hair. Girls who wear hunting boots. And boys who say, "Yes ma'am," to girls their own age.

I like tiny churches.

I once knew a pastor of a microscopic Baptist congregation—a factory-worker by day. He wouldn't accept a…

He bought it in high school, and it was the last glove he ever owned. Woven leather, dark brown, smelled like axle grease.

I've lost my father's old baseball mitt. I've looked everywhere, torn the house apart, dug through closets, the garage, the attic, dusty boxes.

If I weren't sentimental, this wouldn't be a problem, but I am. Objects that would't sell for a blessed dime at a yard sale mean the world to me.

Take, for instance, Granddaddy's union card—stamped on a piece of depression-era leather. Sometimes I carry it in my pocket, I don't know why. Or my wife's University of Alabama ball cap, which rides on my dashboard. The quilt Mother made me in first grade.

And Daddy's ball glove.

He bought it in high school, and it

was the last glove he ever owned. Woven leather, dark brown, smelled like axle grease. It was just an old faded thing, but it was among the only things I had left.

In my childhood, I saw that mitt every summer. We'd play catch until dark. When I got older, he threw harder. By age twelve, I had to wear a sponge beneath my glove to keep from fracturing my hand.

I don't know why I'm telling you this.

But it's more than his glove. The day after someone dies, you inherit…