Island Senior: What’s on your bucket list?

By Peggy Sue McRae, Journal contributor

On the first of October, 104-year-old Dorothy Hoffner of Chicago set out to make the Guinness World Record as the oldest skydiver in the world. Leaving her walker on the ground the former World War II nurse made the 13,500 ft. tandem jump after shouting, “Let’s go, let’s go, Geronimo!”

A “bucket list” is a list of things you want to do or experience before you “kick the bucket”. One thing I know for sure is that skydiving is not on my bucket list. My fear of heights is such that the last time I took a floatplane I was halfway to Seattle before I realized my toes were curled into a tight grip. I attributed this to my evolutionary history as a tree-dwelling primate clinging to branches. If not skydiving, then what is on my bucket list?

My dear friend Rama, who died way to soon, left an extensive bucket list. I adopted a few things from his list to accomplish on his behalf. Not the ones that had to do with flying through the air or motorcycles but “skinny dipping” was an easy one and “eat a snake” I’ve yet to accomplish. My own ambitions are far more mundane but thanks to Rama I’m off to a pretty good start.

Making a bucket list is a worthy exercise. When he was asked on his 90th birthday if there were still things he wished to accomplish in his life, former president Jimmy Carter answered yes, peace in the Middle East and the eradication of the Guinea worm (a cause of horrible disease in humans). This month on his 99th birthday peace in the Middle East remains elusive but the Guinea worm is very close to being vanquished. Said Carter, “I’d like the last Guinea worm to die before I do.”

I asked my sisters if they had bucket lists. Patty has a 99-item list including; taking a Japanese cooking class, visiting Dollywood, getting a tattoo, and taking the Polar Bear plunge. Betty’s list includes; writing a children’s book, volunteering at libraries, teaching quilt making, and riding the Harry Potter train across Scotland. Judy wants to visit her son’s home in Georgia, Elvis’s home at Graceland and perfect her Zumba routine. Sally would like to see the Northern Lights from Lapland. I’m still giving it some thought and wondering where I can get some Rattlesnake jerky.

What’s on your bucket list?

Watch Dorothy’s Skydive: