5 things I wish I had done in life that I actually still have time to do...
1. Canadian Vacation
I grew up in a remote place: Bayfield, Wisconsin, in the United States. Right on Lake Superior, the woods was a palpable spiritual force and Mother Nature always in your face. But northwest of Bayfield is Minnesota, International Falls, coldest spot in the contiguous 48 states. And north of that is the expansive boundary waters area shared by the United States and Canada. And still north of that are remote lakes that can only be reached by bush plane.
If I could persuade my lovely wife, I would take her way, way up there into the middle of nowhere to a cabin on a lake on which our little puddle jumping plane would land. There we would fish and eat our catch when we were lucky and eat hamburgers and hot dogs when we were not.
We would get the feeling of true wilderness isolation, where nature is the undisputed boss, and the air slaps you with its freshness. Both of us enjoy nature so much, I am sure it would be the best of times.
2. Tour de France
Once I got a yellow jersey for riding in some fundraising event - Multiple Sclerosis or Diabetes, I guess. I was wearing it while I prepared to ride home from work and a coworker came out of the office.
She saw my yellow jersey and said, "Wow, were you in the Tour de France?"
"Sure," I said. "They needed somebody for last place."
I am old and slow, so the Tour de France is no place for me. Still I would greatly enjoy riding the route of the Tour de France for say, three weeks at my own pace. To be on the same roads as these superhumans would be a great honor. Also, I love to bike.
3. The Places of my Heritage
I have an interesting heritage. On my father's side, I have Charles Cotesworth Pinckney who signed the United States Constitution and Thomas Wilson Pinckney who negotiated for the port of New Orleans during the American revolutionary war. Also on his side, a cowboy / farmer who settled down to raise a family in North Bend, Nebraska. Castle Pinckney is built on an island off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. On my mother's side I have Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, and Leah. Also on her side I have a bubba (great grandmother) who migrated from the Russian Pale in the early 20th century to New York City.
On my fathers side, my ancestors were slave owners in South Carolina. On my mother's side, my ancestors were slaves in Egypt.
Before I die, I would like to visit Charleston and Castle Pinckney, see Charles Cotesworth Pinckney's original signature on the Consitution of the United States, and visit Israel, Egypt, and the Russian Pale.
4. Kung Fu
I have studied Kung Fu for several years. I would like to have the time to study and practice every night and go to class a few times a week until I am accomplished in this very spiritual martial art. I would like also to spar and to fight in a tournament.
5. The United States
I have lived all my life in the United States but seen so little of this beautiful country. I have been to the Statue of Liberty in New York City and I have visited my inlaws in Florida. When I was four years old I visited Nebraska. I grew up on Lake Superior, one of the Great Lakes of North America, with Chippewa tribe native Americans as neighbors. I have been over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Before I must go I would like to take my wife to see the Grand Canyon, the Badlands, and the Hopi adobe villages. I would like to walk the beaches of western Florida and collect shells with her. I would like us to climb Mount Washington in New Hampshire. I would like to take her to visit the abandoned Bethlehem Steel mill at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, although she would not want to go. And I would like to drink local beer in at least 49 of the fifty states. (She could have a Marguerita.) I would like to see Alaska, and she would, too: its tundra, glaciers, and incomparable wildlife. And I would like to see Hollywood and the Walk of Fame and a Broadway Show.
So there is not all that much I want, I guess. Life's been good to me so far. I can't complain. And, God willing, I'll have plenty of time to get these things done.