In a quaint country village just outside of London, we (Marc here) visited last week the home of the notorious Charles Darwin. I'd always liked the guy and prided myself on being more familiar with his life story than the next bloke. What I didn't know was what kind of a man he really was. These were my thoughts after we left (more like after we were reluctantly forced away at closing time).
Mr. Darwin. A man who lets his children tear up the staircase by sliding down it on a wooden "sled," who considers the most important room in his home the closet with the croquet set, who relishes a book of poetry by the fire and plays backgammon religiously with his wife every night, who lives far enough from the city to be in the country and cultivate a garden yet close enough for quick access, who lies on the ground for hours watching flowers and their mysterious relationship with pollinators, who lives in an "ugly" but cozy, informal, and relatively egalitarian home in a time when fashion, propriety, and status are the rage, who pursues his interests because more lucrative studies bore him, who, when young, jumped at the chance of adventure and now accepts old age graciously, who writes more letters than any one else he knows, who loves his wife and kids dearly, who challenges his faith in sincere pursuit of truth, who made the single most important discovery in the history of natural science, and who is hesitant to publish it for a genuine, if misguided fear of doing wrong to the world.
I'm one of those people who sucks at those top 5 questionaires and I can hardly ever choose a favorite anything. But now at least I have a ready answer to the question, "who is your hero?"