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Prime Time | Marilyn Heltzer: Playing the list game

“I’m in dispersal, not acquisition.”

I say this often as I explain why I’m giving away things that were once treasures. It comes with age. After all those years of coveting and acquiring, I have enough stuff. And little by little, I’m getting rid of it.

And now comes the season of the inevitable question, “What do you want for Christmas.” It’s impolite to say, “Nothing. I have everything I need or want,” but where does that leave the kindly person who asks?

I could always say, “Peace in the middle east.” And I’d really mean it. We are so secure here in our north woods, and many people around the globe are not. In the Middle East, peace would be a miracle after centuries of dispute and the continuing tensions and violence that we hear and read about every day.

But I don’t think that’s what my grown children have in mind when they ask.  

Christmas lists. A bucket list. We’re all supposed to have both. I’m a failure in the Christmas list department. For the sake of retailers, I make up something, which is a relief to my near and dear.

I also fail in the bucket list department. There must be something I want to work toward, or places I want to visit before my life ends. It was Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson who brought the term “bucket list” into popularity with their 2007 movie. But what do those guys know? They’re both a year younger than I am, and talk about being rich and famous, they both are.

But are they happy? That’s always my question. I’m full of pronouncements, like the dispersal and acquisition one. And questions, like the one I ask about folks who are rich and famous.

But having come up with notions of what people can buy me for Christmas, it’s only right that I come up with a bucket list as well. So here it is.

1. I want to move into the tech age by learning to use an iPad, an iPhone, and learning to Skype. I want to understand how I can send messages and pictures on Facebook.

2. I want to master the rules of what passengers can bring on board the airplane, and how to pack lightly. Not that I’m going anyplace, but just in case.

3. I want to find a mystery writer who has written a series of books in which there are no violent murders, and enough clues to follow so the revelations at the end make me feel smart.

4. I want to outlive my dog Sunshine so that my daughters are not faced with the Sunshine question when I toddle off the earth.

5. I want to follow the signs on the highways directing travelers to state parks. I’ve always been in too much of a hurry to get where I’m going, so side trips should be taken.

There you have it, my bucket list. Now, what’s yours? And if you have a favorite state park, do let me know.