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Short and sweet. Such has been my time writing this column for the Times for the past few weeks, and such, also, is my mom. As this is my last contribution to the paper before I head off to pursue full-time graduate studies, I thought I would pay tribute to my mother, who has been my docent in the world of arts and culture.

We all look up to our moms as the ones who know the answer, but my mom is a librarian, so she knows all the answers (or at least she knows how to find them). As such, my mom is a wealth of wisdom and knowledge, but not in the stuffy, stereotypical librarian sense. No, she's hip - but not trendy. Like a classic novel, her hipness endures.

Growing up in Glenville, Pennsylvania, and Carroll County, I was plenty accustomed to farmland and small towns, and I still hold the countryside close to my heart. But my mom made sure I knew more of the bigger world.

Often it was just the two of us, with my brave mom leading the way to the Walters Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the American Visionary Art Museum and the Charles and Senator theaters in Baltimore. In Washington, D.C., she finally managed to pull me away from my favorite - the National Air and Space Museum - to show me the delights of the United States Botanic Garden, the Library of Congress and the National Museum of the American Indian.

Later, we ventured to Monticello, Winterthur and Fallingwater. Other out-of-state trips took us to Cape May, Charleston and Bermuda. And you can bet that every we trip we took included an obligatory visit to the library.

In addition to introducing me to all these physical landmarks, my mom also taught me how to travel with my imagination. Along with my dad, my mom read me countless books as a child, which I'm sure had something to do with my growing up to study literature.

As I embark on a degree in teaching, I give thanks for the best teacher I ever had. Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

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