04 April 2010
Last night Tim and I attended the Oxford American’s Best of the South Awards Gala at the invitation of our friends Mike & Bet. It was a fabulous evening for many reasons, not the least of which were the two southern men who received the inaugural awards: literary legend Charles Portis and the very talented actor Morgan Freeman. Charles is the brother of my longtime business partner Jonathan, and the author of several novels including True Grit, Norwood and Dog of the South. I’ve always been a huge Morgan Freeman fan for his onscreen talent and for his contributions to the Mississippi Delta. We’ve been to Clarksdale, MS, and had dinner at his award winning restaurant Madidi and have stayed in the apartments on top of his well-known Ground Zero Blues Club. If you’ve never been to Clarksdale, I highly recommend it.
There are so many Freeman films that I love that I cannot even begin to list them all. But one that stays on my mind quite frequently right now is The Bucket List, a film directed by Ron Reiner, which stars Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson. This film tells the story of two terminally ill men – Freeman as a car mechanic and Nicholson as a billionaire hospital magnate - who escape from a cancer treatment facility and take an around-the-world vacation with their “bucket list,” or things to do before they die. Together, they go skydiving, get tattoos, climb the Pyramids, ride motorcycles on the Great Wall of China, and dine at Chevre d’Or in France.
But the most touching moments of the film are about the truly meaningful wishes that involve those they love and life's everyday special moments often taken for granted – items like laugh till you cry, kiss the most beautiful girls in the world, help a complete stranger for the good and witness something truly majestic.
When you’re looking into the face of Stage III cancer, I think you can’t help but contemplate about all the things you’ve always wanted to do but just haven’t taken the time or managed the resources to make them happen. But the truth is, why would any of us wait until mortality is staring us in the face to assemble our life’s wish list? For many, the end of life provides no warning, no time for planning. For that reason alone, every one of us should begin to make our “bucket list” today.
And the bucket list can take on many different varieties too. I have some young friends who recently married, and have decided to postpone having children until they complete their pre-baby bucket list. They are much in love and want to experience several things together that will be more difficult after the birth of a child. They have some great things on their list including a trip to Greece, cooking classes, running a half marathon together, and one-week road trip staying only in old strip motels.
One strange bucket list interpretation happened just last week in a small town in Florida. A woman suffering from leukemia and bipolar disorder robbed a Bank of America branch, managing to elude law enforcement for three days. At the time she was captured, the press asked her why she did it. Her answer: robbing a bank was on her bucket list. Interesting item for sure, making me wonder what else is on her list. As you would suspect, she now sits in jail pending a hearing before a judge.
Making a bucket list has gained such exposure and popularity that one group has set up an interactive web site for people to prepare their personal list and keep track of their progress.
For those who have given little thought to creating a bucket list, this site also provides you with sample lists as food for thought.
The ultimate question for all of us – what really matters to me? What are the things I want to enjoy during my lifetime before I fall off the perch, bite the dust, kick the bucket, or meet my maker?
As Jane Seymour said, "You have to count on living every single day in a way you believe will make you feel good about your life, so that if it were over tomorrow, you'd be content." Great words to live by.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s all make our bucket list today and then put it in a place that we can read it and review it often. I don’t plan to let this nasty cancer beat me, but I do plan to get re-focused on the things that matter most to me. Bucket list, here I come! But meeting Morgan Freeman - well it's already done and I won't have to put it on my list. Last night was a wonderful experience that I will never forget.
Easter Sunday was great. The girls and I attended the Community Easter Sunrise Service, the 18th and final service under the direction of our pastor Rev. Vic Nixon. We then enjoyed a pot luck brunch with family and friends. I slept most of the afternoon, probably because I've overextended my limited energy. Tomorrow Anna-Lee returns to school, Allyson returns to Missouri; but tonight we will eat matzo ball soup (Thanks Liz!!!) and enjoy watching movies together. It's been a beautiful and restful Easter Sunday.
Posted by Stacy Sells at 10:02 PM