Regular readers of this blog will remember that last summer I took my mother to Wichita, Kansas, to visit Eighth Day Books, a bookstore she has done business with for years over the phone and through the mail. It was a great trip, and the first item on her bucket list.
Earlier, my wife Linda had suggested she make such a list of trips she would like to take so that we could help make them happen.
"What's a bucket list?" asked Mother.
Fortunately, she is a pretty frank person, or else explaining the term to an eighty-three year old might have been something of a challenge.
"Well," we explained, "it means a list of things you want to do before you, well, you know . . . before you kick the bucket."
My retired English professor mother loves a good simile or metaphor, and so caught on immediately.
She gave it some thought and came up with at least two other ideas. First, she wanted to go to Red Cloud, Nebraska. Red Cloud, you ask. It is the childhood home of novelist Willa Cather, and Mother has her PhD from the University of Nebraska--but she'd never made it to Red Cloud.
So the wheels were set in motion, and this past weekend, Linda, Mother and I all set out for Nebraska. While there we spent time with my youngest brother Mark and his family, and on Saturday, Mother and I, accompanied by my niece Jennie, hit the road and drove across 150 miles of prairie to Red Cloud.
More about the day itself in another post--for now, I'll simply say it was a big success.
The next day Mother was a little teary. "Well," she said, "I guess that was end of my bucket list."
"No," I quickly reminded her, "there was another trip on the list. You wanted to go to Boston one more time."
Immediately she brightened up. "Boston!" she said, "That's right! You know it's like Jerusalem for me!" And so it is.
So Lord willing, we'll make that trip to the city of baked beans, cod fish and the Red Sox in the coming year.
Bucket lists. It's really never to early to make one--so what's on yours? Dream big! Dream wild! But most importantly, dream now!
(Photo L to R: Jennie, Mother and me on the porch of Willa Cather's childhood home in Red Cloud)