Recently, we watched an old movie about two men with terminal cancer, hospital roommates. One had made a bucket list of things to do before he died. The other man had the money for them to carry out their end of life wishes, and they went traveling together, doing everything on their respective Bucket Lists.
It started my thinking about a bucket list for myself.
First, I’d have to make some rules:
Would these just pertain to my situation now --- or before Tony died, in 1996 ? I suppose it would boil down to reality or fantasy. Hmmmmmmn , think I’ll stay with the here and now.
Would they only be things I can easily afford – or what I could afford before the financial mess hit this country – and my bank account ? OK, a little of both, I think.
The truth is that I’ve done lots of the things that would have been on my list some years ago. I used to love to travel, wanted to see everything in this country and in Europe.
I’ve come to a time in my life where I no longer want to have to fly to get somewhere. My arthritis may have something to do with that. I need to move around before I get too stiff and walking on planes, even the big ones, can be a challenge. I rather enjoy the actual flying and looking out the window. There’s a feeling of elation at the beginning, when the plane levels off, which is nice, but I have to honestly say I love to feel those wheels touch the runway at the end of a flight.
Before we flew to Germany the first time, I read several books about the fear of flying and I found them helpful. I guess it was the really long flight plus being over the ocean that had me a tad uneasy. Thankfully, one of the books, written by a pilot, explained all the bumps and noises so I didn’t have to worry about the plane falling apart.
I’ve always said I’m a fairly good swimmer, excellent floater, but I can’t fly worth a darn! Consequently, the thought of taking a cruise has always appealed to me. By the time Tony and I took some cruises, we could afford rather elegant accommodations. I say this because Tony would have been miserable in some of the small staterooms I peeped into on the ships. He was claustrophobic, plus, like so many others, on his first trip, he’d crossed the Atlantic on a troop ship, a miserable experience. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruises and actually lost a couple of pounds. We mostly lived on the delicious, fresh seafood and salads and walked miles around the decks. (In contrast, we had a dear friend, an MD, who gained twenty pounds on a one week cruise. His wife said he just ate all day and night.)
So a bit of a list for the bucket would be, actually, a short cruise down the coast from Charleston to Key West – and back—or perhaps leave from Savannah. However, I wouldn’t want to do even that without my children.
I’d love to see a live whale but not enough to go to Alaska or some far off place to see one. I always enjoy watching the dolphins when I am at the coast.
As I’ve grown older, lots of wishes, daydreams, desires have narrowed considerably. I don’t want to do anything at all where I’d have to “rough it”. [I can just hear Dee saying, when did you ever?! We both agree, sleeping with the window open is as rough as we want to get!]
I enjoy a ride through the Smoky mountains, especially since the roads are so good. I might like to do a little people watching at Cherokee, N.C. Sometimes when I’ve needed a vision to calm my soul, I take a mental trip through Cades Cove. I love that area. Catherine Marshall’s book, Christy, about going to English Mountain as a young teacher, is one worth rereading.
When I was a child, my parents would get us up early, usually on a Sunday morning, and we’d ride up to and through the Smokies; have a picnic lunch; and return by a different route. Mother always either planned or actually cooked her Sunday dinner, on Saturday. So our picnic lunch could be most anything. Most often, she cooked big pieces of meat like roasts, in a big, black, iron Dutch Oven. She and Dad would just wrap the entire pot and lid in heavy newspapers and it stayed fairly hot – or cold- until lunch. We rarely had paper products so plates, cups, forks etc went into a basket. It seems to me we did always have a big thermos of fruity iced tea. One trip, in November, we stopped and Dad cut a Christmas tree which they tied to the car some way. Boy, that wouldn’t happen now. Perhaps those sweet memories enhance my love of the mountains.
I’ve always enjoyed singing whether before an audience or alone. But I do think it would be fun to get a group together just to harmonize on some of the old time hymns and songs.
I’ve been to most of the Florida beaches, not Miami, all the Georgia, nearly all the South Carolina beaches, and a few French beaches. But I’ll always love Hilton Head most of all. We first went there before it was developed and only had a rickity, scary wood bridge. Even though it is now built up and more closely resembles a city, I still love going there. I haven’t missed too many years getting there for a week or two. I like to stay in a condo at Ocean One, right on the beach, often just sitting on the balcony, watching the ocean. For years, we had a time share at the Sea Crest, in January. We met several couples, long time friends, there and it was a bit like a house party. I tried to carry friends and return, several times, after Tony died --- but finally just gave up. I gave the condo back to the Sea Crest as Tony had suggested I do if it became too sad. I was the youngest in our group and all but one other wife are dead. Since then, though, I’ve gone several times with Dee, and my grands, and those have been good times, too.
In Augusta, I lived alone for nine years and got along OK , just a different dynamic …. Several friends are also widows and three couples were folks I was very comfortable with. Each of those men has died now. Tony’s family lived there also but we were no longer close. They were very nice but memories were too painful, I think, looking back.
People ask, “If you could do it all over, would you?” My answer would be, only if I knew then what I know now. However, as I’ve thought about a bucket list, I realize that I’ve done much that would have been on the list plus some things I’d never even dreamed of. I’m so lazy and content these days, let’s don’t rock the boat.