The Sand Bucket List

Daniel’s in New York City right now, and because I like to challenge him with premeditated discovery missions, I’m adamant that he needs to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. I’d always wanted to be there instead of watching it on TV. It made no sense to me why my parents were perfectly happy preparing the feast at home when we could see Rocky & Bullwinkle floating by, larger than life. Everything in New York seemed larger than life, and that parade ruled the day!

 

Of course, Philadelphia was as close by half, but even so it may as well have been on the other side of the world. Phili didn’t have the draw of New York, New York—a city so thrilling that they named it twice. Besides, I found the Mummers and Shriners rather unnerving. I’d given up my trike for a two-wheeler, so what were those old men playing at?

 

Times change, and I’ve changed. I haven’t thought about that great longing for years. And that got me wondering about what other things may have been on my childhood Bucket List…

Richard Scarry’s books instigated the wanderlust in me from early days. I don’t believe that I expected to find a jolly cat wearing Lederhosen in the Alps, but those illustrations were so neat and trim. Every place he drew could draw me right in…Remember the cat who got the job scooping coins out of the fountain at Buckingham palace? I coveted his official fountain hat!

 

The Alps also called to me through ‘the Sound of Music.’ That’s one on my list that exceeded my expectations. It was a great day for me when I could finally do that twirl above Salzburg while pelting out Rogers & Hammerstein. And I didn’t know that the castle in ‘Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang’ was real! Even more striking, King Ludwig’s apartments were far more fantastic than a movie set.

 

Because we lived in München, Tim & I spent a lot of weekends hiking on the top of the world. It was better than I’d ever imagined. The Alps remain on my list. I’ve not yet wandered every hill and vale, nor tasted the Kaiserschmarm & Weißbier in every Gästehaus. If my ancestors come from this place, I want to know it!

 

Another European wonder of my childhood was that place where the streets are made of water. Venice turned out to be a lot touristier than I’d hoped. Every visit into Italy is a tasting tour, but this was a disappointment. Pizza and Spag-Bol are crowd pleasers that constitute the majority of the restaurants, so the meal is more interesting if the family plays “guess what country that table’s from.” True Venetian citizens are evidently quite scarce here.

 

On the other hand, I never knew of Venice’s sister island, Morano. Had I known of those beautifully colored and crafted glassware, it surely would’ve been on my list. Candyland was.

 

I trust that I could distinguish make-believe, but just like Willy Wonka’s chocolate river, I would’ve loved to dive in! Besides the sugar rush, those delicious colors on the Candyland game board were so inviting! Perhaps that’s what I found on Morano.

 







On the other hand, I never knew of Venice’s sister island, Morano. Had I known of those beautifully colored and crafted glassware, it surely would’ve been on my list. Candyland was.


 


I trust that I could distinguish make-believe, but just like Willy Wonka’s chocolate river, I would’ve loved to dive in! Besides the sugar rush, those delicious colors on the Candyland game board were so inviting! Perhaps that’s what I found on Morano.

 

Jacques Cousteau’s undersea world held a fascination for me. I had no idea that he grew up exploring the coast of Provence, and that one day I would climb around the rocky Calanques. I doubt that I will take up scuba diving anytime soon, so I’ll let this one be a wait-and-sea…

 

France was Paris, and Paris was a series of line drawings in a quirky 1950s Learn to Speak French book I’d borrow from the elementary school library. I never learned to parler from that book, but I still adore those tidy café tables under striped awnings, long skinny baguettes, and obsessively groomed Poodles prancing next to their Dior-clad masters. 

 

Another book that I remember from the school library was a collection of Japanese folk tales. My interest in Japan may have started with seeing my aunt’s charming black lacquered jewelry case, and a trip to Benihana’s. The folk tales would have been a glimpse into Wonderland, recognizing essential human truths in a silk-wrapped costume.

 

The reality of the Japan I encountered was far different. The electronics industry sent us to highly developed cities, so I’ve yet to venture into the countryside. South Korea is very different in many respects, but I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to live there and experience this beautiful culture.

 

Now, it’s your turn.

 

Think about what you longed to experience when you were a child. If you don’t remember, what books, movies, TV shows, games inspired you, and why? Did you get to any of these places? How did it compare, meet or exceed your expectations? Were there any places you wanted to visit that no longer exist, or maybe wasn’t real to begin with? What beckoned you, and might you find it elsewhere?

 

Take a 20-minute walk to get your heart, mind, and body going, and then come back with your revisited Sand Bucket List. I want to know!

 

 

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