The Bucket List - what a great concept. We've all got a bucket list... that itemized list of things we want to do before we move to the next great experience. I really never gave it much thought to making a bucket list because ... well ...
I was a newly released boot-camp, naive sailor going home for two weeks of leave before my first duty station. I was on a flight and had a retiring Navy Chief sitting beside me. Some people will give you advice whether you request it or not. This chief was no different but his words would actually shape my future.
The Navy will teach you anything you want to learn, you only need to be a vessel to the experience.
At first I thought it was a pretty cryptic (and creepy) message but as I considered it over the next few days, weeks, months and years, I came to realize that he had condensed the meaning because, for him, his whole world had been the Navy. I was not thinking of being a "Lifer" - the guy who makes the service a living.
No, for me, I had to change the phrase just a tad: The WORLD will teach...
Sure, the Navy taught me many things. I was an interpreter in the Navy. I was taught Russian. While at the language institute, I also learned a smidgen of several other languages like Swahili, Chinese Mandarin, Chinese Cantonese, Japanese, Arabic, Italian, French, Polish and the list goes on for almost another 20 languages. I learned basic words in those "other" languages, like numbers and simple things like "help," "thank you," "please," "tourist," and a few other useful terms. Now Russian, on the other hand, I was involved almost 24/7. At one point I'd almost forgotten English.
Anyway, I also learned several other things while in the Navy which stretched my personnel record to a major thickness.
After the military, I used that philosophy and continued to reap the profit of the world, learning anything that anybody was willing to teach me. I met a well-known TV show celebrity chef and he taught me the basics of cooking. I "trapped" my wife cooking up a meal of spicy pork chops, twice-baked potatoes, seasoned carrots and a peach dessert to die for. I have cooked for groups of upwards of 100 people.
Of course, one must give back and since I love to camp, I was involved with Boy Scouts for several years while my four sons grew up. Even my wife was involved since we had no daughters. I have probably taught close to 70 boys how to cook meals beyond the simple hot dogs or hamburgers. We would have Christmas dinners for the scout troop and I had the boys make such things of Amaretto Chicken, Pork Chop l'Orange, Rumple-de-thump Potatoes, MawMaw Carrots, tossed salads w/ homemade dressings and even homemade ice creams like pistachio or peppermint. Imagine my surprise when one mother thanked me profusely for teaching her son how to cook at camp. He came back from summer camp and prepared their family a full meal and she was very impressed. Another boy taught his mother how to make pizza in a cardboard box when their electricity went out.
But my bucket list. Well, I never considered it a bucket list - just a lot stuff I learned. So, what do I want to add to my bucket list now that I'm reaching 68 yrs in age?
My life has been very fulfilling. I've done so many things, many things most people would never consider and as my room mate of the late 60s would say: Do everything at least once and if you like it, do it again. I've done a lot of things and done them twice or more times. LOL.
What do I want to add to my bucket list. I want to attend the weddings of all my grandchildren and see the birth of all my great grandchildren. I'd like to win the lottery. Not the BIG lottery. I don't need all that cash. I'll be happy with the 5 white balls.
I'm published but it would be nice to see one of my books make the top 10 nationwide, but, then again, I would be happy just to be a known author.
Oh, yeah, and like all the contestants of the Miss America pageants say: World peace.
Until next I ramble on...