Making a Bucket List was ‘Born in the USA’

My lovely wife Wendy got tickets for us to see the Bruce Springsteen concert in Seattle a couple weeks ago. The concert was fantastic. My only regret is that I have never gotten around to creating a Bucket List for myself, and consequently I was unable to scratch off “Attending a Bruce Springsteen concert” from the list.

A Bucket List is not a list of different types of buckets, but rather a list of things a person would like to see or do during their lifetime, you know, before they “kick the bucket.”

I know that I could theoretically create a Bucket List now, including seeing a live Springsteen concert, and then cross if off. While I am fine with that sort of casual attitude toward lists in general, it somehow seems shallow and perhaps even sacrilegious for one as important as a Bucket List.

The more I thought about Bucket Lists the more I realized the definition of what constitutes an acceptable Bucket List item is unnecessarily inhibiting. Why should a Bucket List be limited to things one wants to see or experience during their lifetime? What if I want to include “Living Forever” on my Bucket List? Why shouldn’t one’s Bucket List include seeing and doing things in this lifetime or the next? A Bucket List unconstrained by current understanding of time and space is a Bucket List I can get behind.

Having expanded the time and space and consciousness parameters of Bucket Lists, several list-worthy items came to mind. For one thing, I’d like to be able to see my father one more time. My dad died almost 20 years ago, but I still think about him and miss him a lot, and I would love to spend an afternoon with him working out in the yard or tinkering around in his woodshop.

I’d also like to see my mom again to sit with her in her sun porch on a lazy Sunday afternoon and catch up on what everyone in the family was doing, how the old neighborhood had changed and have her tell me again some of the many reasons she always liked me more than my three siblings. I know the reasons all by heart, but they sound better coming from mom.

While I’m at it, I’d like to be reunited on the beach at Pritchard Park one clear and sunny summer morning with every dog I’ve ever owned, including our current dog Islay and a few special canine guests — Hank Hayward, Flynn McKenzie and Hogan, Gus and Holden Nikunen.

I’d like to be able to play cards once a month forever with all my poker buddies, particularly if I could arrange to win back at each card game all of the money I lost to them on the round of golf we’d have played earlier in that day.

I’d like a chance to see my friend Brian Doyle again, maybe over a Guinness or three in an Irish pub. I’d use the opportunity to try once and for all to convince Brian that the college basketball game is better than the professional game for reasons both great and small.

I’d like to meet Abraham Lincoln, George Harrison and Mark Twain, smoke a cigar with Fidel Castro, and hear Tom Waits sing “Take it With Me When I Go” at my funeral.

I’d like the chance to work on one more Montana land conservation project with my late friend and colleague Alex Diekmann, and if that cannot be arranged for technical or HR reasons, I’d like to get one more late-night e-mail from him saying: “Dude — I’ve got an idea! Call me.”

I’d like to have all the time in the world to read every good book ever written, preferably in a comfortable leather chair in a large library with a big fireplace and a nice stereo system — playing vinyl, of course.

I’d like to spend time every weekend in the yard or on the deck with my kids, grandkids, siblings, extended family and friends, laughing and telling stories.

The final item on my Bucket List is to spend eternity with Wendy, and not just because she’s the one who arranged the Springsteen tickets, although admittedly that didn’t hurt her front-runner status on my list. For now, I’ll have to be content with scratching “Make a Bucket List” off my new Bucket List. One small step for man…

Tom Tyner of Bainbridge Island writes a weekly humor column for this newspaper.