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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Bucket List



I’d never heard the term until not long ago when we watched a movie about two terminally ill guys who rush around and accomplish everything on their BUCKET LIST. The term came from the expression  ” kick the bucket” - as in dying. Of course if we all had unlimited funds like the men in the movie, we’d come a lot closer to achieving the goal.

What is on your bucket list? I’m thinking there would only be items that are do-able if you only had time and money and, yes, good enough health. Uh, I have time…If, indeed a 79 year old has lots of time – well, at least spare time. If I’d had one, my original list  would have included lots of travel but that has all changed now. Actually, I’ve done some of those trips but lots of others just don’t sound like fun anymore.

My long-time friend Anna and I used to say if the time came that we both were widows, we would fly to Switzerland  and stay in a beautiful hotel, on a mountain lake, in the Alps. She’d spent one night there at the end of a tour and always wanted to go back.  But after sharing a week with her, in my condo, at Hilton Head, I decided I didn’t want to be arrested for murder in a foreign country.  

OK, there are few big trips I care to take without my husband so guess I’ve done all of those …. and that’s alright. I would still like to get back to any one of several beaches in South Carolina or Georgia and perhaps going the opposite way, to the Smokies.

One place I wanted to visit for ages was Key West. Because of my husband’s severe health problems, I knew it was probable that I’d be living alone at some point. So I tried to console myself by thinking of where it would be pleasant to live, with not so much worry and stress. You know, just be a modified beach bum; have a modest  small house; eat when you want to and what you want to eat, mostly seafood; maybe play piano or sing  in a sleazy bar; and only be responsible for yourself. Since that’s not going to happen, I’ve been doing a little research on the island .I’ve come to realize that even in years back, excessive use of alcohol and drugs among some of the islanders plus bugs and heat would possibly have me running for the hills. I did live alone for nine years and got along quite well. It was a huge far cry from being the beach bum tho’.

Some things I’d never have thought of, we did. Just think of it. A bucket list from, say when I was 16 years old, 1950, would be amazingly limited. World travel was much more tedious.   Even in the home, in my world at least, clothes dryers, dish washers, microwave ovens, wall ovens, ice makers, huge color TV’s,  newfangled phones, tons of electrical thingys in the kitchen, to say nothing of computers and all their relatives. Even in the hot south, few expensive homes were completely air conditioned. Open windows and electric fans were the norm. I drove my first car with automatic gear shift, in 1959.

On another level, even in the Episcopal Church, women did not go into the ministry. Perhaps they were there but in lesser jobs. I was raised a Baptist so am not totally certain of this. I never heard of a female Baptist minister. My husband was also raised Baptist but in the early years of our marriage we decided to research other denominations and finally decided after much deliberation and many classes to join the Episcopal Church. We were never sorry. So if I were a young woman now, I feel fairly strongly that I’d seriously consider going into the ministry.

After taking all the required education courses in college, my desire to teach college or graduate level education courses was quite strong. Very little of what I was taught and had to regurgitate was helpful. Though all are different, there are some characteristics that are common to all good teachers. This could be another blog or even a book so I’ll just mention a couple. Self confidence would top the list and enthusiasm would follow. I loved teaching and I was a good teacher but if I were to teach now, it would have to be in a one room schoolhouse back in the woods somewhere! With the epidemic of political correctness, politicians, regulations, and, yes, fear of the students, I’d be fired the first week.

When my daughter was in the second grade, I substituted in her school every now and then just to help out. Even that far back, I had a child refuse to say the pledge to the flag. I could not force the big 7th grader to say anything at all but I could allow her to stand in the hall while the rest of us pledged our precious flag. Oh well, another item on the “bucket list” hits the dust!

When I was young, it was said that many young women just went to college to find a husband. May be some did but I never heard that expressed. I worked very hard with little help from my parents. I finally had to get student loans my senior year. I married the next year and my husband and I paid off both our loans the following year.

Having a good and loving family, great friends, and several dogs over the years would have made a bucket list to be proud of, I think. Lots of fun times thrown into the mix was icing on the cake.