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March 17, 2009

MY BUCKET LIST

 Do you have a “bucket list”? I do! The title and concept come from the enjoyable movie by that very name starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

Before viewing the film I had never seriously thought about the things I wanted to do in my life before I become too infirm or, yes, I’ll say it, before I die. The concept of the movie is that we all have certain dreams of things we want to do, places we want to visit, people with whom we need to set matters right, before the end of our lives.

 On our recent trip to Florida I was able to cross off two places which I had always wanted to visit – without realizing that they were indeed on my personal bucket list.

Our first stop was at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. It was a visit which had actually been on my mind since American President John F. Kennedy was buried there in November of 1963. The deep sense of respect and dignity met my expectations. No animals were allowed and children must be kept quiet. The straight rows of tombstones were impressive to behold and the historical significance of this cemetery was evident throughout. We read markers ranging back to the early 1800’s with the soldiers’ wives being buried beside them in this hallowed ground as is Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis interred beside her husband. Now I could cross this item off my bucket list.

  Visiting the Kennedy Space Center had been on my wish list ever since the space travels had begun. President John F. Kennedy challenged in his prescient speech in 1961, that America would have the capability to send men to the moon and return them safely to earth before the end of that decade.   His speech fired my imagination although I must admit that at the time I was dubious of the possibility. His challenge was met in July of 1969 but unfortunately he was not alive to see it. Because of his fervent promotion of the American space program, the area was named in his honour after his tragic assassination in 1963.

Our visit was on a cool windy day. We viewed the IMAX movie, “Space Station 3D” which was excellent and gave us an idea at least of what life is like aboard this space craft for months at a time. We took an interesting bus tour which brought us fairly close to the launch pad where the space shuttle “Discovery” was sitting on the pad ready for lift-off which occurred on March 15, 2009. It was an exciting place to visit and we actually returned for a second experience later in the week this time also visiting the “United States Astronaut Hall of Fame” which is located six miles from the actual space center. Cross the Kennedy Space Center off the list.

 In 2008, on our first trip to Florida, I convinced my husband to make a detour to Memphis, Tennessee. Elvis Presley’s home of Graceland was a “must-see”. Alex and I had danced to his music while dating four decades before and had both been huge fans. This was our opportunity to visit his actual home! It was indeed interesting and gave us a glimpse into the excessive lifestyle of the King of Rock and Roll. At the time we visited there the idea of a bucket list had not yet occurred to me but this would certainly have been one item on it.

 Do I have other things in mind which I feel I must do? Visiting Rome is certainly on my list as is visiting Lourdes in France in my mother’s place. It was something she always wanted to do but could not in her life-time due to her terminal illness the last five years of her life.

 In 2007 we made it to Paris but one three-day visit to this fascinating city is not nearly enough so I must return to explore more of the exciting capital of France this time including an evening at the famed Moulin Rouge night club. A visit to the celebrated Palace of Versailles is definitely on my bucket list.

Travelling across our magnificent Canada by train is also an aim of mine.

 Attending my grandchildren’s graduations and weddings is certainly on my list! A luxurious cruise is there also. Trips back to the land of my birth are standard features which will be on the list for the rest of my life. Maintaining family connections both in Canada and The Netherlands are also aspects which will not change. Completing my book is an important  goal I am working hard to achieve.

 So many places to see, loved ones to visit often, writings to engage in, and of course a long life yet with my husband – my bucket list will remain long for years yet to come.

 

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