Some time ago I saw the movie The Bucket List. You probably did too. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play the parts of two elderly guys, terminal patients sharing a hospital room, who decide to set about doing the things they’d had hopes of doing but didn't before they died. It made a good movie. Lately I’ve been thinking I’d like to make a bucket list of the things I’d hoped for when I was young and didn’t get to do.
1. I’ve spoken fondly about the country gas station where I grew up with cousins on farms nearby, but in my youth my dream was to live in downtown Minneapolis. I'd have chosen a high-rise apartment, chic and glamourous. Never did, but wouldn't put it on my bucket list now.
2. I loved going to school so naturally my dream was to go to college. And I got to do that for the first two years. Living with my grandmother in her little Riverside California adobe home while going to college had been something I’d dreamed of ever since my mother died when I was fourteen and that dream came true. Missed the last two years of under graduate school but that's not going on my bucket list either.
3. Getting married and having babies came sooner than I'd expected, but I'm glad they did. I could have had a completely different kind of life then, but I can't imagine a better one. Frankly, being on my own scared me. Being a new Marine officer’s wife scared me too, but at least I was not alone. I had my ultimate goal, a loving husband, at age nineteen.
4. Seeing the world had never been my goal so it was all right with me that the Marines didn’t take their wives abroad. Moving from one military base to another all over the USA was adventure enough for me. Later in life I got to travel to England, France, Germany, Austria, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Monte Carlo, Switzerland and even Lichtenstein. Robby and I had six cruises. Travel may yet come, but it's not on my list. Almost forgot about my first trip abroad. Three weeks in China in 1983. The "Central Kingdom," Zhongguo, was truly another world then.
5. Having two boys a couple of years apart and a baby girl several years later was something we’d settled on early in our marriage and it worked out just like that. A family makes life interesting and our children have given us pride and joy. All three have turned out to be good, decent, honorable and successful. Best of all, our children are our best friends. They love us.
6. On our honeymoon we discussed what we’d like to do after Wally G. retired and one of the things was to have a country home at some point where we could raise chickens, have a dog and cat and a milk cow. Add a few sheep, some ducks. We had it all, along with some struggles but a lot of the best on a 60 acre ranch in Southern Oregon. No need to add it to my list.
7. Forty years of a happy marriage with Wally G and only a few bumps in the road. We’d hoped for at least fifty, but he went on ahead to the great Hereafter the day after the Christmas of 1985. I hadn’t expected a second marriage but I got one with another good man, Forbes Robertson, and had eight years of happiness with him. A lovely second family too.
In reviewing all this I think I’ll not make out a bucket list, after all. What would I put on it? Most of my life there’s been so much to enjoy in the present I haven’t spent much time thinking about the future or its wants and goals. There are few regrets about the past.
I’m heading into unknown territory now but I’m not scared. It’s been alarmingly joyous to see how the family is growing! Little ones, five great grandies so far. I hope to watch them grow up, but if I don’t live that long it’s all right. Nowadays I think not too far ahead. I’ve got a bucket full of good living behind me. The present is looking good. As for the Hereafter, that's got to be a surprise!