Should I Live to see 90 …

I had no idea there was something called a “bucket list” when I was raising hell all over the world between the ages of 16 and 40 … I suppose we should introduce a bucket list of sorts to our kids at a much earlier age. In any regret, I think it’s safe to say that particular bucket has many a dent in it from the times in my life when I came close to “kicking it”, so this piece today is to announce my goals for the next fifty two weeks and because we’re all limited to only these fifty two weeks in 2012 that it’s safe to say I will need further opportunities in say 2013 to continue the list. For those of you that know me personally, you’d know there’s not a lot of “fear” when I used to venture into the unknown. I’ve paid for this reckless demeanor on more than one occasion but more than not it’s been a pile of laughter these past fifty one years. I taught my two daughters to become Polar Bear swimmers at the annual Polar Bear swim at a very early age. My youngest went for her first swim in the frigid waters at the age of 5 and couldn’t wait to return to shore to give the boys in the neighborhood a piece of her mind as they [the boys] stood there watching from the beach. I loved that morning with Taylor and Logan. What’s that saying about the apple falling far from the tree? During the first five decades I’ve seen Fenway Park, the Boston Garden, Montreal Forum, the Seattle Space Needle, the glaciers and Mt. McKinley of Alaska, the Kingdome, Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium (Mistake by the Lake), every one of the Great Lakes, the southernmost point of the U.S., hell even the southernmost city in the world; Punta Arenas, Chile, the winds of Adak, the statues of Columbus in Spain, the beaches of Antigua, the cliffs of Cuba, I’ve seen myself climb aboard a moving freight train and take it across state lines for hundreds of miles. I’ve seen myself locked up in a Chilean prison for a number of hours for aiding a friend of mine who was the original culprit. I’ve seen myself taken back to the boat by the police, not once, but twice in the same evening. I’ve seen myself carry a potted palm tree out of club in Panama and into the trunk of a waiting taxicab. I’ve seen myself drive a Mercedes-Benz for the first time in my life, oh it wasn’t mine … it was a taxicab in Copenhagen. The driver got out to collect his fare. Have no idea how the rest of that story goes. I’ve seen the reaction of my Boston or [Yankee] accent in downtown Mobile, AL when I took on three natives in a downtown nightclub where I received the business end of multiple fists. I’ve seen myself standing at the port rail while we steamed up the English Channel and marveled at the wonders of the local countryside. I’ve seen myself standing on an ice shelf in the South Pole on the last day of 1983 playing volleyball and drinking beers with emperor penguins. I’ve seen myself on a bluff above Women’s Bay in Kodiak, AK one Christmas Day where I started a nice little campfire and enjoyed the sights with the resident bald eagles who were the only ones within eyeshot. I’ve seen myself stand at the altar with my childhood friends as ushers alongside me watching my bride walk towards me. You’ll be happy to know the aforementioned all happened before that event! I’ve seen myself at the helm of a 40’ catamaran in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. I’ve seen myself as a member of the 2% club while in the teeth of Hurricane Jeanne in 1980 where forty-seven foot seas and 100+ knot winds would send the majority of my shipmates below decks. I knew then I was made for riding the waves. Later in life I witnessed the birth of our two daughters. I’ve seen myself make untold number of friends this past half century. I’ve even seen the Boston Red Sox bring home a World Series (twice!) and what a hurricane [Floyd] can do to a 60’ gum tree when it tosses it into your bedroom … I’ve seen Springsteen with my elbow on the stage and watched Clarence blow his sax and I’ve seen the results of biopsies, removal of tumors and watched the inner strength of my bride grow as the cancer left her system. I’ve watched and witnessed the amazing growth of my all the girls in my life and I’ve even witnessed some growth of my own as I get ready to post the last blog of 2011. Time to empty this bucket and start another one!

While beginning to ready myself to the realization of 2012 … I sit here this afternoon listening to Mr. Springsteen sing Rosalita. Clarence is whaling on that enormous saxophone during this song while Bruce tells us to “jump a little lighter” and I find myself with a shit eating grin as I always do, because this one song parallels the relationship I had with Bonnie’s stepfather and the chorus to Rosalita really is a fine way to say AMF to 2011:

“Now I know your mama she don’t like me ‘cause I play in a rock and roll band / and I know your daddy he don’t dig me but he never did understand / Papa lowered the boom, he locked you in your room / I’m comin’ to lend a hand / I’m comin’ to liberate you, confiscate you, I want to be your man / Someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny / But now you’re sad / your mama’s mad / and your papa says he knows that I don’t have any money / tell him this is his last chance to get his daughter in a fine romance / ‘cause the record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance!!!”

Be kind to one another …

I’m grabbing a beer.

See you next year.