Drinking From Your Bucket List, One Dipper at a Time

Drinking From Your Bucket List, One Dipper at a Time

I truly believe there is no better way to keep hope and happiness in your life, than to have written goals, and along with those goals, a Bucket List.
This past weekend, I was able to drink from my Bucket list in a most fantastic way.
It all started about a month ago, when my wife told me she had plans for us on December 13. The only thing I had scheduled was to plant my butt on the sofa for the annual Army-Navy game. For this old Navy vet, that is a must-do. But instead I just scheduled it for recording.
The week before the 13th, she told me she also had plans for the 12th, so I blocked it off the schedule.
When I got up on the 11th, she told me she wanted to do a “day trip” whenever I could finish my work. I purposefully keep my schedule light during the Christmas holidays, so by 9:30, I was ready to leave.
She told me to take some good walking shoes, and a heavy coat. My wife always drives, so I was totally at her mercy.
Where could she be planning to go for the day? Well, I had a few ideas.
Judy began driving, but she continued to pass each of the areas I had thought we might be visiting.
Four hours later, we were approaching Washington, DC. By this time I was sure we were going to the Kennedy Center to see a performance. Maybe it will be the Rockettes!
But then she said, “Think you might want to see the new National Air & Space Museum?”
I had not seen it since it had moved from the Smithsonian, but it was on my Bucket List. “Yes, I’d love to”, I responded.
So we spent the next 3 ½ hours touring the Museum. It was awesome. Probably 5 times larger than before. We saw the Enola Gay. We saw the Discovery space shuttle. We saw a Concorde. We even did a Navy fighter simulator. I was the pilot. Judy was the gunner. She shot down 3 planes. I put us in a barrel roll, flipped us upside down, crashed, and burned. What a wonderful day trip my wife had planned.
But when we got back to the interstate, instead of heading west toward home, she headed east.
Ninety minutes later, we are pulling into a motel in Baltimore, Maryland. We then proceeded to unload a large suitcase she had slipped into the trunk. Once inside, she told me the purpose of our “day” trip. We were staying through the weekend, and she was taking me to the Army-Navy game.
Well, I lost it. To me, this is “THE GAME.” It is about 3 Fantastics above the Super Bowl, the World Series, the Daytona 500, or the NCAA National Football Championship. For the next 15 minutes, Judy told me all the problems she had faced in getting the trip put together, and how many friends had come together at the end to make it possible. This made it even more meaningful.
So on Friday, we took the light rail to the Inner Harbor. I had already been there 3 times on business, and had always wanted to share it with my wife. I took her to see the Bromo Seltzer Building. We walked the harbor, shopped the Christmas craft shows, visited my favorite store, Barnes & Noble, and had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.
Then on Saturday, we came back in to The Game.
You see, to proud veterans, this isn’t just a game, this is a pilgrimage. The 90 minutes before kick-off was spent talking to the young cadets and midshipman, and telling them how I appreciated their service to our country. They all looked so young, so naïve. I greeted all of the other Navy fans with “Go Navy. Beat Army.” Thrown in was good natured ribbing with the Army fans.
We arrived in our seats an hour before kickoff. Before the game, and during the game, various spoofs from the two schools were shown on the big screen, all in a humorous, good natured manner. My favorite was one in which the Midshipman used a variety of “word plays” substituting the word “ship” for another four letter word. Basically, the Midshipman let you know that the Army ain’t worth a “ship”.
The Black and Gold team ran onto the field as Army Apache helicopters swept over the stadium. Then the Blue and Gold team followed, escorted by F-18 fighters. Navy Seals paratroopers floated down from 3500 feet, followed by the Army’s Golden Knights.
As the Golden Knights descended, Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA echoed throughout the stadium. (OK, so I lost it again.) The spirit of patriotism continued with the innovation, which ended with “and God bless the United States of America.”
The game was hard fault. Navy was favored by 15 points, but escaped with a 17 – 10 win. This was as it should be. In this game, there are no losers. They are all winners. There were two teams during the game, but after the final whistle blows, they come together as one united team. All I could think about was how many of these players on the field, and how many of those innocent young men and women in uniform I had spoken to in the last 48 hours, in the next 20 years, would give their life defending our country.
So thanks to my wonderful wife, on this wonderful trip, I was able to mark off 2 items from my Bucket List.
If you don’t have a list of written goals, use the New Year to write yours. And while you’re at it, start a Bucket List, and begin marking them off.
If you need any assistance in goal setting, just let me know. Also I’d love to hear from you about things you’ve completed on your Bucket List.

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About Jerry Haynes

OK, where do I start. I was born…., no that line has already been taken.Call me…, oops so has that one. Well, I won’t attempt to spout musical prose, and just be myself. I grew up in the small cotton mill town of Fries, VA. My parents were hardworking members of the middle class. They never earned more than a little over minimum wage, but I can never remember lacking for anything. After graduating from Fries High School in 1969, I started to VA Tech. After two years of partying (1st), going to movies (2nd), and studying, well, much further down the list, VA Tech decided I need a two year break to get my priorities straight. With a number 8 in the draft lottery, I knew that even if the Hokies didn’t want me, Uncle Sam did. I joined the US Navy. I got my priorities straight. I’m proud to be a Viet Nam veteran, but feel guilty I never got deployed. I graduated from Tech in 1977 with a BS in Civil Engineering. For the next 35 years I would work in both the private and public sectors. My first job took me to Tazewell County, Virginia where I soon joined the Jaycees. This ignited my passion for individual development. This passion still burns today.

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