Along the Natchez Trace

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Drop in the Bucket

Years ago, long before I had ever heard the term “bucket list”,  I kept a list of things I wanted to accomplish and places I wanted to see.  I wish I’d kept that list, but I still remember many of the items on it.

I was working as payroll manager at the local hospital, Bill and I had a small farm and we sold goat cheese, veggies, flowers and jams and jellies at the local farmer’s market, and we also owned some rentals that required a certain amount of time and maintenance.  We were busy people!

The list as I remember went something like this:
1)      Take and Pass CPP (Certified Payroll Professional) test.
2)      Take cannery class at Ohio State and get license to make and sell processed foods.
3)      See Northern Lights
4)      See Mount Rushmore
5)      See Southern Cross
6)      Take Hot Air Balloon Ride
7)      Take Helicopter Ride
8)      Ride a mule down the Grand Canyon
9)       See a Moose
 I don’t remember what else that first list consisted of, but before I retired in 1997 I had acquired my CPP and also my cannery license. 

As the years passed I’d add things, and I’d draw a line through the ones that were realized.  I think 1999 was a banner year…  my daughter and I spent 2 weeks in New Zealand.  Each night the weather would be cloudy and overcast…  no night sky!  Finally, the last 2 nights we were there we saw the Southern Cross.  I probably have pictures of it stashed somewhere, but that was before digital days.  It probably sounds odd to want to see a constellation,  but then…  maybe this blog, The Odd Essay,  is aptly named.
Me.. at the Grand Canyon -  2007
When I was in third grade, one of my classmates took a trip OUT WEST.  I don’t know how long the vacation was, but I do know she brought back pictures and souvenirs  to share with the class.  We played The Grand Canyon Suite every time we looked at her pictures, and I knew then that I wanted to ride a mule down that canyon.  My sister and I took a vacation in the early 90’s and I stood and looked into the canyon and could hear the rainstorm and the sun coming out again…  And my brother and I took a vacation in 1999…  and… we rode mules down into the canyon…  clippity clop, clippity clop……  a big drop in the bucket!
The above picture was taken on April 7, 2007. One of the several times Bill & I have visited the Grand Canyon. Guess I can cross through that entry , but I never tire of visiting there.

Bill and I started our RVing adventure in early 2001...  we headed for Alaska. 
 Finally...  Finally...  Finally.....

I saw a moose! 
 In fact, we saw moose fairly often during our stay on the Kenai.  Since then we've spent several summers in Maine where moose (and bear and porcupine) are plentiful with almost daily sightings.  I still get excited whenever I see these guys and always carry my camera with me.  (By the way, this photo won a laptop and binoculars for me in a photo contest)

I'm scared of heights...  but still have a few "high altitude" items on my list.  Riding in a hot air balloon was right at the top.  My brother and I were on the schedule for the 2nd flight of the day at the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque one year. We were on the chase crew for the first flight...  and wouldn't you know?  That balloon crashed into a huge cottonwood tree, just missing some high power lines, and ripped the whole side out of balloon.  So much for THAT ride!

A few years later Bill & I were in Colorado Springs....

That's me in the gondola wearing the red headband.  The picture on the right is our shadow as we float over the countryside.  Pike's Peak is in the background.
Another line crossed off my bucket list!

As long as I'm writing about getting high....  I've always wanted to take a helicopter ride. 

We were in Churchill, Manitoba on a Tundra Buggy....  a company was offering helicopter rides out over the frozen tundra to see the polar bears.  The upper left picture is of me when the ride was over.  If I look like I have a silly grin on my face, I really do!  The lower right picture is one of many I took while up in the whirlybird. 
Another Drop in the Bucket!

Not all of my bucket list takes me off the ground...  a few things on my list took us over water....
Who hasn't wanted to see the Golden Gate Bridge?
I think I sang "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" until Bill would gladly have gagged me.  But seeing THE BRIDGE and riding a cable car had been on that list a LONG time. 
By the way, that's an Adventure Caravan jacket and cap Bill is wearing.  We were on one of their tours and I highly recommend that company.

Before I retired, a person I worked with told me that her husband had worked on the Mackinac Bridge up in Michigan.  I was fascinated by her stories of that job.
Yep!  That got added to my list way back then.  I'm always glad it's Bill who's driving the rig at times like this!!!!

I used to subscribe to National Geographic.  One article that has always stayed with me was of the monarch butterflies migration to Mexico.  For years and years their destination was a mystery.  I can still see the cover of that particular magazine although I have no idea what year that was.

Naturally, THAT place went on my list!  In 2009, we cut short our winter in Mexico and headed back to the Valley.  We had some time on our hands before heading north again and just happened on to a travel agency offering the butterfly tour.  The bus trip was a week-long tour of parts of Mexico that we'd never seen.  But the highlight for me was seeing these thousands of Monarchs in their winter habitat...  a sight I'll NEVER forget!

Another Drop in the Bucket!

How close have you been to a whale?
Maybe I should ask instead...  is seeing a whale close up on YOUR bucket list?  It was on mine, and we were so close I could have reached out and touched the barnacles on her back.  This was in  Guerreo Negro, in Baja Sur.

Bill loves to go parasailing.  He's had the opportunity to do just that a few times in Mexico or along some beach in the Caribbean.  I've stood on the ground, watching (and praying) and taking pictures.  I REALLY wanted to do that...  I REALLY did....

But...  just couldn't get up the nerve.

We were in Michigan a few years ago and saw a parasail company that offered ....

YES!!! I could do that!

And I did!

It was tons of fun and I could do it again....  IF I'm in a harness with that guy in the picture on the right.  Doesn't he look like he's having fun?

Not all my bucket list is on the water or in the air... 
Another item from Waaaaaay back...  grade school, I'm sure...
 was to see...


We spent a couple of weeks checking out Yellowstone...  don't think we saw even one bear.  But, by gosh, we counted down the minutes until Old Faithful blew again!

As time went on and I realized I could add the most outlandish items to my list if I wanted to, I added stuff like...
Riding in a Gondola in Venice, Italy....

Seeing some ruins in Greece....

Traveling isn't the only thing on my list, but I'd never been out of Ohio until I was fifteen years old, so it's no wonder I've added so many things to see.

I wish I still had a copy of that original list...  just as a reminder that you can wish for anything you want....  and nothing is too outrageous to attain if you really want it.

My bucket list has been filled many times.  And that's the thing about it...  that bucket will keep
 filling up with ideas as long as I live.

That's All for Today....


  1. Very nice.

    I never made a life list. I don't know why that is. As things come along, I do them or I don't.


  2. I've had several lists over the years. I'm planning on crossing a lot of them off now that I am traveling more. I think most "bucket list" items are travel related.

  3. My bucketlist only has one thing on it! LOL Get an RV and travel all 49 states....LOL I've been to Hawaii!

  4. What a great post. You have some wonderful memories and I enjoyed reading about them. I have done a couple of the things you mentioned and would like to do more. One of my favorite memories is para-sailing with my sister in Hawaii. We did the tandem thing too. It was SO much fun. Still want to go up in a hot air balloon. Thanks for a really fun post.

  5. I have never made an official bucket list. But when I was in seventh grade, another girl said she had visited all but two states. I made my mind up then that I wanted to be able to say I had been in all 50 US states. I have gotten to many of them but still have some to see. Hopefully, we will fulfill that dream when we get to do full time RVing. I also used to want to parachute from a plane but I have definitely removed that goal because my palms start to sweat just thinking of high places!

    I too, did parasail in Panama City Beach and definitely will do it again if the chance comes along. For some reason being high above water did not frighten me. The Grand Canyon really scared me when the tour guide told us we could go close to the edge to look over. Ken laid on his belly and hung his camera over the edge to take pictures. I was scared to death to look at him. My hands are sweating right now. I have to get over this fear for sure.

    It sounds like you have had a full and wonderful life. Isn't it nice to go back and remember all the good times?

  6. What a fun post of recollections. I do have a bucket list, but haven't put it down on paper ... yet ... I should do that. Most of my list, revolves around travel ... seeing the pristine beauty of Antarctica (2007); going to the Arctic (2001 and 2011); seeing polar bears in the wild (2008 and 2011 - isn't Churchill great?); hot air ballooning (2007); sitting with bears (2010); helicopter landing on a glacier (2001); going on a photo safari in Africa (2004) ... and so much, much more that is still on the list ... riding the mules at Grand Canyon, traveling to all 50 states in our motorhome, visiting all of the national parks, visiting the Galapagos, hiking in New Zealand, spending a winter season in Alaska, seeing the northern lights ... oh boy; I could go on and on. Instead, I'd better go make that list.

  7. That wasn't a bucket list...That was 10 bucket lists!!!The Polar Bears in Churchill are on mine...driving to Alaska was one we did...and seeing MuskOx was included in that trip. Because I hate to fly, I try not to add anything that will put me on an airplane..I actually make myself sick if I have to fly...who knows why...Great blog...You got it together now, girl!!!