The Ottumwa Courier

February 9, 2013

An old lady’s bucket list

Et Cetera

former Courier editor

OTTUMWA — I like hearing about people’s bucket lists. The things they want to do or the places they want to go seem to be the rage.

I’ve seldom thought about it. As the years go by, some of the wants seem to be just too hard to get, or I’m personally not able to achieve them. But, I can still conjure up a list:

• Returning to the top of Pike’s Peak in Colorado.

I’ve been there once when a kid. It was the biggest vacation our family had taken — going to Colorado to stay with friends. Somehow, Mom got Dad talked into it, and away we went for my first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains. And somehow, Dad drove into Denver to our friends’ house. And somehow, a couple of days later, Dad drove my sister and my friend Judy (one year younger than me) to Colorado Springs, and we hired a limo for the drive up the mountain. Oh, it was a wonderful trip. Then, somehow, in late afternoon, Dad drove us back to Denver, and little 9-year-old Judy showed us the way to her house. My dad was always so impressed such a little girl could find her way around the big city. I’ll tell ya — my mom was mighty glad to see us.

Anyway, it would be fun to do that again, but I don’t think I want to try breathing that high up in the world.

• Visit Egypt and the Pyramids.

I have friends who have been there; some like it, and some thought it was way too hot and dirty. And nowadays, there is too much civil strife in that country, and I don’t think I would want to venture into that mess.

• Be on a hillside near Bethlehem, Israel, on Christmas Eve.

Again, another far-out wish since that region, too, can be in turmoil from time to time. Yes, it is doable, but I haven’t found a friend who wants to do that with me.

• See the Northern Lights.

I know several southern Iowans have taken Alaskan cruises and enjoyed them. But most of you taken them when it’s summer there, right? What sounds wonderful to me is to go to Lapland in the winter and stay in one of those glass igloos and watch the colorful light show from a snow-covered park area. I do have a friend or two who also would like to do this, but like planning a fun game night, it’s hard to coordinate times off and schedules. I am keeping that as a possible.

• Visit Dubai or some exotic, rich Arabian city and stay in a very expensive hotel. I know that is a no-no for a good friend of mine who does not like hot weather. She’d rather go to Antarctica.

• Rent a villa in Tuscany, Italy, for a month. Again, this is definitely a possible.

• Spend the summer in a cottage on the Atlantic Beach somewhere in New England.

• And, of course, see Machu Picchu in Peru.

I could list many other ports of call.

I’ve yet to explore much of the American west, which would be fun. Or the beautiful mountains of Canada.

I agree with so many of you that travel is the best retirement present you can give yourselves. And to those of you still working who do travel, I am envious and happy for you.

And, it’s not like I haven’t been there or done that. I’ve been lucky to have seen some sights I thought I might never see, like the canals of Venice, the Forum in Rome, the wild Atlantic ocean pounding on the Cliffs of Mohr in Ireland, the Eiffel Tower, Niagara Falls and the view from the ferry approaching Seattle, Wash. I thank my husband and friends who have been with me to those lovely areas.

Today, in the month of my birthday, I await the arrival of something else I have longed for — the birth of my first grandchild. Everything else will pale to that event, I am sure.

But, you know, it would be nice to taste some Dom Perignon ...

Judy Krieger is a retired Courier editor.