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Dunking basketball goes off ‘bucket list’
Back when my skinny behind was wedged in a school desk, teachers tried to keep me from squirming.
My mind didn’t wander. It took field trips. I made laps around the globe without ever leaving the room.
Nanelle Bacon diagnosed my condition. She didn’t know what Attention Deficit Disorder was. She just declared, “Son, you’ve got ants in your pants.”
A half-century later, those ants still are stinging. That’s why I make lists. A daily to-do list keeps me on task.
Some of my classmates must be much older than me. They’re making lists of things they want to do before they “kick the bucket.” I hope that day is way beyond the horizon. But maybe I need to have a bucket list, too.
So, what would it be?
* Our grandsons never got to meet my dad. I would like to take them to the South Pacific. Let them walk where their great-grandfather’s Army boots walked during World War II. He was a member of the Greatest Generation, serving in the Philippines. This would give them a sense of who he was and who they are.
* Nanelle Bacon will like this one. I’d like to return to college for one course -Algebra I- and make an A this time. With a team of tutors, I could. Maybe. Just thinking about all that sitting still makes me want to squirm. Whew, I’m beginning to sweat, too.
* My favorite musical instrument is the piano. I’ve learned to play the 88 keys, but barely. Mashing the right notes and really making music are as different as singing and shouting. It took me 12 months to memorize Floyd Cramer’s “Last Date.” Now, I’d like to master “Great Balls of Fire,” Jerry Lee Lewis style. Besides lacking talent, I am very short on practice time. I need to get smoking on those keys.
* You can’t haul around a piano, so I keep a harmonica poked in my briefcase. The mouth harp is my second-favorite music maker. Just as it is with piano, the trick is practice. If I could find the time and a partner, I’d like to wah-wah through a Johnny Cash version of “Orange Blossom Special.” I’m going to need to live a long time and the other half of the duet will need a trainload of tolerance.
* Somehow, I’ve escaped the urge to climb onto a Harley or into a convertible. Both have their pluses, but I prefer my mules, Ruby and Rose. Before I get too old to hitch the plows, my fantasy is to tend my garden with nothing but mule power. High-tech is the future, but I never want to completely unhitch from my past and its agricultural roots.
These five “bucket list” ideas jump-start the brainstorming. I’m thinking about others.
I had been toying with one I-want-to-do-this wish, but it got marked off before it ever made the list. Several years ago, I was determined to dunk a basketball before I turned 60 years old.
Yeah, I know. That was ridiculous. Still, I stared at the rim and figured, “If there’s a will, there’s a way.”
A few Saturday afternoons of trying proved positive thinking wasn’t putting air into my leaps.
Then I had a revelation. This is my personal goal and that was my basketball goal.
So I lowered the basket. Now, I can soar and stuff it.
Yeah, I know. LeBron would snicker.
But, so what? Let him get his own list.
Dink NeSmith is president of Community Newspapers Inc. in Athens. Send e-mail to email@example.com. This column was printed in the Athens Banner-Herald.