A bucket list is a list of things that you just have to do before you leave this earth. I don’t have one but my wife, Gloria, does and she has been checking it off one by one throughout her life.
A few bucket list items, like our trip to Israel, were easy but as you cross off the easy ones, and as you grow older they become progressively harder to do.
I didn’t join her on her helicopter trip. Why take a risk when you don’t have to? For her 50th birthday I was able to arrange a birthday surprise through a contact of mine which crossed off hot air balloon ride. I don’t mind admitting I was scared to death and I marvel at the fact that Gloria was as calm as a kitten. After about an hour and a half ride we landed softly into the middle of a baseball game.
Gloria has romanticised about tossing a message into the ocean ever since she was a little girl. It was one of the few things left on her bucket list. Last year we took a cruise around the Caribbean. On our second last night, somewhere between the mouth of the Panama Canal and Florida, she checked it off the list when we tossed a bottle from the stern of the ocean liner Oosterdam into the Atlantic Ocean.
What do you say in a letter to anyone who happens to find it? I didn’t ask what she wrote but she told me afterwards that she had included the addresses of our children in case someone found it after she had kicked the bucket.
We were stunned when in late May of this year we found a mysterious letter in our mailbox postmarked Itzehoe, Germany. It was written in German and read:
“Hallo Gloria and Howard,
Mein Name ist Ger Freiwald and ich vohen in Itzehoe bei Hamburg…
[At the beginning of April, 2016 my wife and I enjoyed a week vacation in the vicinity of Lisbon where we took a long walk along the beach It is absolutely beautiful along the Portuguese coast. We were very happy to find a bottle on the beach. It doesn’t happen very often. We had a lot of difficulty trying to decipher the lettering because it had faded after being in the ocean for so long. It was even harder because it was hand written rather than printed. I hope you get this letter………]
Gerd went on to talk about his family and ended with:
We wrote back:
“Hi Gabi and Gerd:
We were thrilled to receive your letter. We were tempted to respond by e-mail but given the way you found our message we thought the regular mail might be more appropriate…
Thank you for making an effort to decipher it and taking the time to write…”
Beats throwing a bottle into the ocean, Doesn’t it!