Skydiving. See someone in concert. Find love. What do these things have in common?
They all made someone's bucket list.
A bucket list is a list of things you would like to do or accomplish before you "kick the can." Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman did a movie about it. Columnists and critics have composed their own about celebrities and what they think the celebrity's odds of survival or beating an addiction are.
The young people who have died recently have made me see that life doesn't last forever. Music icons such as Whitney Houston, 48, and Michael Jackson, 50, have tragically passed. Closer to home, my family lost a member in 2009 in my husband's Uncle Rob, who was just in his 50s. Last summer, we lost a dear friend, Stewart Langford, who was taken way before his time at just 33. That's about my age. It hit home. It hit home hard.
I got to thinking about what I want to do before my time here on Earth ends. Aside from the obvious of spending time with my son, watching him grow and fall in love and have a family of his own, there is other stuff I want to do. So, I also asked the same question of everyone I know, even to those I don't, here on this very page and on Facebook. What's on your bucket list?
I appreciate the number of answers I got. Thank you for taking the time to share your hopes and dreams with me. Some things people told me were very serious, some funny, some sad and some just plain silly.
It wouldn't be fair to share everyone else's bucket list without sharing my own. Well, I had to remove one thing from my bucket list in 2009. Seeing Michael Jackson in concert was on my list. Apparently, it wasn't far enough up on my list to get done. I also would love to see Madonna. I know, I'm crazy, why Madonna? Madonna was one of the first musicians I listened to growing up in little old, Wheeling, W.Va. She is the last person I like that I have not seen perform live. I have seen New Kids on the Block (don't judge), Garth Brooks, Bon Jovi and many others who would have made my list if I had not.
The very top item on my list would have to be to have a book published. Sure, my words are in print right here every week, but that's not the same. I want a book, with a hard cover with my name and picture printed on the jacket. Wouldn't that be awesome? Kind of like having your name up in bright lights in Hollywood.
Not far down from the top spot on my list, are to own my own cupcake bakery and have another baby. I bake cakes and cupcakes now, but I would love to do it on a bigger scale. I would have a little store with a cafe setting and sell cupcakes to take out or eat right there. And another baby would be cool, too. My son would have someone to play with as a child, to grow up with and learn with into adulthood and deal with decisions and losses as an adult.
So there you have my little list. Now for yours.
Shannon Langford, Rayland: To get my two boys to Wisconsin to meet their aunt and uncle on my dad's side and my dad.
Michele Neff, Follansbee: Go see the Christmas Story House in Cleveland and to travel Route 66.
Beth Meeker, Rayland: Go sky diving.
Danielle Nelson, Rayland: Sing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, whether there are people in the audience or not.
Craig Howell, Colliers: See the Grand Canyon.
Julia Pinkerton-Houchin: Become a great chef and own a famous restaurant.
Lori Ward: Visit Australia, Sturgis for bike week and Europe.
Kim Biondi, Adena: Take a vacation without a natural (or unnatural disaster) occurring and see Kenny Chesney in concert.
Dawn Gainer: Fall in love and get married.
Linda Harris: Get up enough nerve to fly to England. I don't like to fly.
Grant Nau: Get married, have kids, buy a truck and get it lifted, be a person who is remembered for being a man of God and watch Michigan win the national championship.
Jennifer Schunn, Martins Ferry: Write a series of children's books, get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and stamina (from 11 years ago), travel, spend a month in a monastery or retreat center, meditating, etc., be available to my daughter for her life, work and to share in the joy of her children, decorate a house exactly as I would like no expense spared, to have a well paid housekeeper and cook so I can spend time more directly with husband and daughter and working on my bucket list.
Sandra Turner, Orlando: Travel Europe for a month, ride on the Alaskan Railroad, spend a day with Billy Graham, sing with Celine Dion and Vanessa Williams, and teach each of my grandchildren to play a musical instrument so that they will never stop playing.
Nancy Andriano, Bellaire: Learn to ride a horse and cruise the Amalfi Coast drinking limoncello.
Jody Wisbith, East Palestine: Retire somewhere warm with my husband and enjoy time with him and my grandchildren to come.
Patricia Logsdon, Piney Fork: Would love to go to two parade's, Macy's Thanksgiving Day and Rose Parade, get an RV and travel across the country and take family along.
Andrew Long: Warrior Dash and skydive.
Cindy Helt, Wellsburg: I would love to take my husband to Hawaii, Alaska and etc. I would love to take Na, Moe, Liam, Audriana and Gabriela to Disney World and they can do and get whatever they want.
Geoffrey Gatewood: See the Miami Dolphins in a Super Bowl, go to an Ohio State Buckeye home football game and skydive.
Heather Andes, Mount Pleasant: Buy an RV and take my family sightseeing across the U.S.
Monica Mann: Go to the Masters, have a conversation with Phil Mickelson, sit on the Green Monster at a Red Sox game and go to the Rose Bowl (when Michigan is playing).
Butch Sheets, Hopedale: Draw a cover for Action comics.
Rita Faye: To cook side by side with Mario Batali.
Ross Gallabrese, Steubenville: See the Rolling Stones perform live, fire an assault weapon and buy and Audi, go to Germany to get it and drive it on the Autobahn.
Valerie Alatis: Retire and live at the beach.
Shanon Hill, Hopedale: I want to graduate from nursing school.
Robert Coss, Rayland: Travel around Europe to see where my Dad's family came from.
My step-father (who wished to remain anonymous): Fly a helicopter.
Kathy Perrone: Visit San Francisco before it falls into the ocean and New Orleans before it sinks and see Jimmy Buffett in concert.
Gordon Koegler, Wheeling: Set foot in 15 more states, then he will have been in all except Hawaii, which doesn't count because it's not connected to anything.
Mark Letusick, Rayland: Ride a bull.
Janice Kiaski, Steubenville: Ballroom dancing lessons, drive a conestoga wagon across the open plains, live on a big ranch with horses and Great Pyrenees dogs and go to chef school.
Joe Biondi, Adena: To live long enough to enjoy retirement.
Kris Voytecek, Bridgeport: To find true love, just once.
Beth Ann Petrosino: Go to Italy.
Jodi Rielly, Steubenville: Write a novel, sing the national anthem at a professional baseball game, batting practice at a professional baseball park and go to medical school.
Leslie Powell, Harrisville: Go to Hawaii.
Heather Lane: Ride a gondola in Venice.
Kenneth Robinson, Guam: Give wife the big wedding she missed out on.
Dexter Brewer, Rayland: See my great-nephew's face when we play Old Maid, watch him reel in his first fish, have a drink on his wedding day and hold his first child.
Little Man: Drive a monster truck, preferably Grave Digger or Bigfoot.
Life is short. You never know when your card will be pulled. So, in the meantime, we should work for our dreams each and every day. We should reach for those stars no matter how far they seem. We should "live like we are dying."
(Letusick, a resident of Rayland, is a copy editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)