Things To Do, by Rich Paschall

Perhaps you have a “bucket list.” You know, things you must do before you “kick the bucket.” That is to say before you die. Such lists seem to be popular with middle-aged and older people. Younger people may not give this much thought, as they are more likely to believe there is plenty of time left to do things.

Domed stadium, natural grass, Miller Park

If you have a list, what do you have on it?  Do you want to visit all the MLB stadiums? NFL stadiums? NBA arenas? Do you want to climb mountains? Perhaps Mount Everest holds an allure. Perhaps you want to skydive or water ski.

Maybe you want to swim with the dolphins, or watch the humpbacked whales come out of the ocean? Perhaps you wish to travel. London? Paris? Rome? Far East? The Middle East? Do you want to go to the islands of the Caribbean or the South Pacific?

In London with a friend

It may not be too late to learn a language, take a wine tasing course or learn to paint (pictures, not houses).  Maybe you want to run a marathon. You could try for every state. Maybe you want to run with the bulls. I hope you are fast. Maybe you want to visit famous places close to home. You could travel to the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls or the monuments of Washington, DC.

I guess if we thought about it enough, we could put down hundreds of ideas.  If you made a list, how would you prioritize them? Would you do the easiest to complete first, or start with the hardest? Time, health and financial resources could play into all of your decisions.

Grand Canyon

I don’t have a bucket list, nor do I feel the need to make one. I don’t wish to have a list of things I must accomplish. What if I didn’t finish them all? Was life a failure? What if I did finish them? Do I just wait around after that for the grim reaper?

Of course, there are things I would like to do. They are not bucket list items, just things I would like to accomplish if time and resources allow. I have eliminated the ambitious running around the country or around the world ideas. Anything that is too arduous is out.

Selestat, France

If you have any kind of chronic pain, you immediately cross items off the list as not worth the time and aggravation. If you have a plate and 8 screws in your spine, roller coasters and bungee jumping are not things you will consider if you still have your sanity. There are limitations to what the human body will put up with at certain stages of life.

This year I decided on something I should do that had crossed my mind before. There just was no more putting it off. The opportunity to get away was at hand and all I needed was the go-ahead from my destination hosts. When the arrangements were complete I was off to the destination that had moved to the top of my list of places to go. Uxbridge, MA!

Downtown Uxbridge

If you have been following SERENDIPITY for very long, then you have seen plenty of photos of Uxbridge from Marilyn and Garry Armstrong. Marilyn is our editor, photographer, publisher, sage and idea guru. I dropped in on SERENDIPITY in 2013 with a short story, and Marilyn has let me hang around ever since. I am here on Sundays and I sneak in an extra article from time to time on another day.

The interesting thing about the internet is you can contribute articles from anywhere. While Marilyn and Garry are outside the Boston area, I am in Chicago. You may be surprised to learn that prior to this year, we had never met. So Uxbridge became my destination of choice.

My hosts: Garry, Duke, Marilyn

We were going to tour the area and visit many of the spots I had seen before on the blog. The weather held other ideas for us. We were in the pattern of daily ran and spent much of the time indoors. As it turns out, that was just fine. We never ran out of things to talk about. After five and a half years of articles, comments and emails there were plenty of topics to discuss. It was just a couple of days before my trip in early June that I heard Marilyn’s voice for the first time. We were coordinating our arrangements by phone. In the days ahead, we had a lot of time to talk.

With a very small window of opportunity, we headed out to grab a few pictures. The rain held off for a few moments allowing us our touristy pictures. Then it was back inside to our regular greeters, the three dogs.

Cameras at the ready

Nighttime gave us the opportunity to view Westerns we had discussed back and forth in comments and emails. This included one of the Armstrongs’ favorites, Rustlers’ Rhapsody. It is an homage to the great B-movies of a bygone era. It’s a good cast and wacky entertainment. I will get the opportunity to see this send-up again and again as I was sent home with a copy.

It was the opportune moment to meet friends at the other side of the internet universe. I don’t know if I will ever make it back to Uxbridge, but it was on this year’s To Do List and it got done.

I make a careful distinction between things I want to do and a “bucket list.” I have no crazy ideas or personal challenges, just a desire to visit friends when I can. It does not matter where they are in the world. If I can make the trip, then it becomes the next adventure.

Check out this adventure’s photo gallery at Sunday Night Blog: A Visit To Uxbridge

Categories: Boston, Garry Armstrong, Marilyn Armstrong, Rich Paschall, Travel, Uxbridge

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

41 replies

  1. Reblogged this on rjptalk and commented:

    We might not be able to take a Road Trip this year, but last year I got to travel to the Boston area for a visit with Marilyn and Garry. Be sure to click on “View original post” at the bottom to head over to SERENDIPITY for more pictures and the rest of this article.


  2. I have a vague idea of things I’d like to do, but it is constantly in flux. I’d certainly like to do some traveling when we retire and do some volunteering. With lots of reading and writing as well. Just came across your blog today. It came up as recommended in WordPress Reader, and I look forward to reading your Sunday posts.


  3. You have some magnificent pictures here and on your Sunday Blog! What a great visit!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I watched with some admiration the saga of your get-together and admit to being a tad envious. I BET there were some great conversations. Good for you for doing something you wanted, regardless of cosmic ‘lists’ and ‘must have dones’.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Rich, I wholeheartedly agree with all of this post. Not that you need my approval, I just wanted to say it!
    I too don’t need a bucket list and same as you I have a few unbeknown but very good friends from the Internet I’d dearly like to meet in ‘real life’. I have followed with great joy your meet-up in the rain and clearly see all the points you agree on. Things I couldn’t possibly follow up because I’m not American, don’t know the first thing about or simply it’s of no consequence or interest to me.
    This is a wonderful post. Thank You.
    And OK, since you ask – my overall wish right now is to 1) sell our French home and return to Switzerland for the rest of my life and 2) find an affordable rental in CH with no or very few stairs, a garden place (instead of a balcony), in a quiet, friendly corner (not easy to find and less easy to afford) and hopefully, all thumbs crossed, to be allowed to have a dog again. Travelling as much as we do and did for many years means that a dog wouldn’t be a happy friend here. But again, finding all that in one place in Switzerland, is a pretty tall order – so cross some more fingers 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • We enjoyed our visit to Strasbourg last year. I would move there now if I could solve thte medical insurance i issue. I can not do without certain drugs. I have good friends in Alsace. I would love to be near them.
      I hope your CH dream is realized.

      Liked by 1 person

    • My “Baby” Brother returned from his business trip to Bali, Indonesia last night. I mentioned my envy when he called last night. Then, he told me about his absolutely horrible return trip – with many connecting flights – to Minnesota. He’s a mega frequent flyer with Delta (really has racked up miles). They refused to move him into business class where they had 2 available business seats. He had paid for business class. So much for my envy of his trip.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. So great that you finally got together in person with Marilyn and Gary! (I think that I’ve seen some of the pics, but clicked on your link. Didn’t seem to be working, but might be an issue on my end?) I don’t really have a “bucket list” but do have several important goals: to have a children’s book traditionally published and to again have a garden, even if it’s just containers in a small space. Right now, my apartment with no outdoor space limits me to to houseplants. You’ve got me thinking about other things that should probably be on a list, but I suppose I’m still caught in that zone where I think there’s plenty of time…not so.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree. As I’ve got older I’ve realised that some of the things on my “To Do” list will never happen. Age, finances and other issues have made them impractical. I’m not too sad about it. I’ve been fortunate to visit a few interesting countries and I’m now coming to realise that many of the places I wanted to see I might not enjoy so much now unless I could sightsee with a time machine. There are still a few things I’d like to do that I might be able to achieve and I hope I will manage some of them but I’m grateful for any opportunity for a trip these days even if it’s across the state not across the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We may still have some adventures left in us but most will be close to home. Recently I reran an article about finding the interesting sites close to home

      Liked by 1 person

      • I like the Grand Canyon shot, I’ve been there many times. This brings up a particular query from those that have visited me here in AZ. They know I’m from New York and, of course, will ask if I’ve ever been to the Statue of Liberty, or top of The Empire State building. Sadly, neither, and I lived there for the first half of my life. So, my bucket list is in reverse. I will visit those two neglected places on a future visit. Kind of “better late than never” sort ‘a’ thing.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I feel silly admitting I’ve never been to the Statue of Liberty, though I have seen it from the water, but not climbed it. I was at the Empire State building when I was very young — before I was 10, but I really don’t remember it much.

          Liked by 1 person

          • A date to meet on roof of the Empire State Building. Nicky (Cary Grant) and Terri (Deborah Kerr) – “An Affair To Remember (’55/Fox/ Dir: Leo MacCarey)

            Liked by 1 person

      • Rich, I am glad we were on your “to do” list. Your visit certainly is one of the highlights of our year. It was, yes, NICE sharing conversation with you. More than that, you lifted the spirits of one and all here. Duke is still upset that you don’t come up the stairs every morning.
        Thanks for the distinction between the “to do” list and the “bucket” list. It makes it easier when we think ahead to what we MAY do. What we CAN do.
        The South Sea Islands are on my bucket list. I’ll probably only see them in my dreams.
        My baby Brother Anton is in Bali right now. That’s one of the places on my “bucket” list. I’ll enjoy it vicariously.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I really wanted to go to Paris because I always wanted to see Paris, though the Paris I wanted to see is about 100 years ago, but I figured I’d make do. But I gave it up. I can’t do all that walking anymore, especially not on cobblestones. They always make me fall over — even when I was many years younger. And if you can’t tramp around the streets, there’s not much point in going. So we went to Arizona instead and it was great. It was our second trip and I discovered WHY people move there. By the second week, the dry air and my back had colluded nicely and I was in less pain than I’ve been for many long years. Even the intense heat didn’t bother me as much as I expected because my back didn’t HURT all the time. So it turns out that dry, hot air cleared up my back, dried out my sinuses and I could also BREATHE. I wish we could move there or somewhere nearby!

      Liked by 3 people

      • I can definitely agree to move to Arizona. John loves Chicago but would like to move someplace where the winter is not so harsh. For him it would still have to be a big city with nightlife.


        • Phoenix is huge. It doesn’t have the kind of “city center” you find in Chicago and Boston and New York — or London or even Miami or San Francisco. It’s more like many neighborhoods all hooked into many cities. The BAD part of Phoenix is that because of all the black asphalt, it doesn’t cool down at night. The hot black roadway absorbs the heat and shoot it back up at night. But it really did wonders for my back, hips, and asthma!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Surprisingly, Phoenix IS a big city, with two other major cities north and south of it. Albeit there’s a lot of nothing in between as far as cities and culture is concerned. Once becoming acclimated to Arizona, you begin to notice it’s beauty, and topography, which, changes drastically as you climb to its higher elevations. Another southwestern state I have grown fond of is New Mexico. Like Arizona, NM can be dramatically and breathtakingly beautiful. The atmosphere is decidedly more artistic and it’s the only other SW state I could live in. As for culture Phoenix has grown over the years, and continues to awaken over time.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Paris in the 60’s still had some of the “city of lights” allure. I wasn’t disappointed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Marilyn, we should watch “Paris Blues” again. It’s been awhile.

        Liked by 1 person


  1. A VISIT TO UXBRIDGE | rjptalk

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