When I was in college, 50 years ago, I had a notebook with a bunch of things I wanted to do with my life.
This was before there was a movie called “The Bucket List.”
I carried the idea further than just writing down stuff I figured on doing before I died.
I actually cut out pictures from magazines and taped them on the side of my refrigerator. That way, I could be constantly reminded of my goals in life.
A lot of the items on my list were places to visit.
Hiking on a volcano in Hawaii, panning gold in Alaska, visiting Crater Lake National Park, canoeing remote Canadian lakes, and beachcombing along the shores of Maine were high on my picks.
So far, canoeing Canada is the only one of those I have accomplished.
Several of these can probably be crossed off my choices.
Since Susie doesn’t fly, and I don’t leave home without her, Hawaii is probably out.
Five years ago, I would still have been able to drive to Alaska, but now, I don’t drive more than 1,200 miles. That is the distance to my sister in Florida and my brother in Ontario.
I am considering taking a Canadian train from Ontario to Vancouver, from there, a cruise ship to Anchorage, then, exploring the 49th state.
Once I started metal detecting in the 70s, I added more to my list.
The top one would be finding a gold coin.
Near the top would be detecting a coin dated in the 1700s, finding an undiscovered Civil War skirmish site, digging a Spanish silver coin on the Florida Treasure Coast, and metal detecting ancient sites in Europe.
Again, things high on my list are those I have been unable to fulfill so far.
I am still looking for the gold coin.
I was able to find a large cent dated 1803, but I’m sure Pendleton has a yard where I can find one dated just four years older.
I need more time in Florida to find the Spanish silver.
I have a friend who takes a group to Europe every year to metal detect old Roman coins and medieval artifacts. If I could have Susie hypnotized to get on a plane, we could still go there.
In my younger days, I had a lot of hunting and fishing destinations on my list.
I wanted to bag a moose, bear, elk, pronghorn, alligator and buffalo. I have taken the moose and bear, (both delicious), and the pronghorn (not so tasty). I have hunted elk (unsuccessfully) but have never had the opportunity to chase an alligator or buffalo. I have eaten all three, and they are also very good.
We have fished many times in Canada and taken musky, northern pike, walleye and smaller fish.
Susie landed a small sturgeon in Ontario, and I boated one in New York.
We have caught salmon and trout from four of the five Great Lakes, and numerous salt water fish have been added to our list.
I still have a medium size sturgeon (50 inches or larger) on my list, and want to book a deep sea charter for sailfish or something similar.
Another category on my list was accomplishing several writing goals. I wanted to have a weekly newspaper column, write a monthly magazine feature, be an editor for a magazine and write a book.
Over the years, I have written for numerous newspapers (including a weekly Ontario, Canada paper), plus many state, regional and national magazines.
I am currently a staff editor for an international magazine, the Backwoodsman.
While I haven’t written a book yet, it is on my list of “to do soon.”
It will probably be a cookbook, a non-fiction outdoor book, or possibly a children’s fiction book.
This year I will celebrate (hopefully) my 75th birthday.
I have a broken neck, have had a ruptured gall bladder which ended with gangrene, have had a stroke, a heart attack, survived kidney cancer, had a pseudo aneurysm (a hole in an artery going to my brain) repaired, and recently underwent three heart surgeries.
Despite all of that, as long as I am still having birthdays, I will keep adding and subtracting items from my bucket list.
Looking around my list of friends, many are much older than I am and are still accomplishing some of the goals that remain on my list.
If they are still doing it, then I can, also.
And, if I can, you can, too.