Got a bucket list?

Discussion in 'The Study' started by elder999, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    So, lately it’s occurred to me that those of us who have dogs as pets measure our lives in dog years. It seems a good place to start, anyway-as a kid, I always wanted a dog, but we couldn’t have one-my brother’s allergies, and my own medical conditions-and more about those later-prohibited it. Later, in college, I got a puppy, and named her Kelly after the dormitory. I got her when she was just under 6 weeks old, and I was 20, and I carried her to classes nestled in my canvas booksack. Kelly was there when I got married, was my kids’ first dog, and a steadfast companion on long walks and runs. I lost her when she was a little less than 10, when she got hit by a train.

    Then there was Jake, a wonderful pitbull- I got him at about 4 weeks, when I was 32, and he was the prototype of all dogs-I’ve lots of funny "Jake stories." He slept with my daughter until he got too big for the bed, and was there to comfort all of us with his ridiculous antics when my kids’ mother died, and he moved with us to New Mexico to be the scourge of cattle and rattlesnakes alike, and to die, battle scarred and content, at a ripe old age of 12. He was ailing when Rita-that’s the wife-and I first got together, and we had yet another dog when we got married-Griz, who was the progeny of Jake’s last year, and the German Shepherd next door, and was born the summer I turned 40.

    At 12, Griz is still with us, and still seems to think he’s a puppy, as long as it’s not too hot out. Around the time I built our house in the Jemez, maybe two years after we got Griz, we got another dog-a fila brasileiro that I named Pooh Bear. Filas, for those who don’t know, are large, fierce dogs that don’t like strangers-in fact, I used to joke about the dog killing the UPS man-a real possibility that we had engineered safeguards against-or a bear, something that very nearly happened when Poohbear was three….when my sister died, back in 2007—and more about that later as well-we left the Jemez house, and bought a home in White Rock, the bedroom of Los Alamos, so that my nephews could attend Los Alamos High. We bought a pretty nice house on the perimeter, and turned the RV parking driveway into a pretty secure dogpen, and that’s where Poohbear and Griz have remained, safely, since 2007, and right up until about four months ago.

    While Poohbear was, admittedly an awful lot like a loaded gun with a mind of his own, I kept him responsibly, and he really posed no danger to anyone-especially at 10, when he was nearing the end of his life, anyway. Apparently, one of my newer neighbors didn’t accept that premise, and only saw a 180 lb. menace, instead of my steadfast companion of 10 years, and, of course, I’m not the only mad scientist in town, so someone put a ladder to the fence, and shot my buddy with a poison dart.

    I had already been in a pretty foul mood since Thanksgiving, but that really didn’t help at all-I still look out my study window into the dogpen for Poohbear-and miss my friend terribly. Just last month, though, Rita fell in love with a little pibull mix puppy up in Taos-lab and pitbull, we think, so Griz at least has company.

    When I first met Anthony Davis, I was 36, and it was his 86[SUP]th[/SUP] birthday. Not having ever really expected to get old, I’ve always liked old people-I wish I could say we hit it off right away, but it was close-we felt each other out. I’d been to about two peyote meetings, if I recall, and we talked about that, then I asked him about being his age, and what that felt like, and he said something that has stuck with me for years, and become truer every year..

    Anyway, there have been quite a few posts on ailments, and the aging martial artist, and I’ve avoided them, pretty much, up until now. I wonder, though, how are you doing Georgia? Stomach settled out? I’ve been praying the knees off my jeans for you. Dirty Dog-I hope you’re reading this especially, and have many dives and fast drives ahead of you. Bill Mattocks-I look forward to the day you post a photo of yourself in your own black belt. If I’ve left anyone out-it’s because they’re too young, Janna-though I prayed out the knees in two pair of jeans for your recovery :lol:-or simply because I’m already growing overlong, and I have questions, before we’re done….

    Like, know how much a 55 gallon drum of oil weighs? I do. It weighs 487.5 lbs. I know this, because, as a younger man, I used to show off by wrapping my arms around one and picking it up. As the student of a former vaudeville strongman, I still will occasionally twist a horseshoe or piece of 3/8" rebar, and still enjoy smashing concrete pavers from time to time, but I haven’t hoisted an oil drum since the year I met Anthony. We were carting some waste oil from my facility to the holding area, and the pumps were broken, and I lifted up a barrel to dump it in the tank (there was a funnel set at ground level for the underground tank) and my knee felt as though it was going to POP!! for just a second, then the oil poured out of the barrel and my knee felt better, and I thought, Well, I better not do that anymore. :lol:

    I still feel like I'm 16.Now, though, as Georgia said, it’s my turn……

    I’ve posted before about my medical history, and won’t bore with the details-an item of interest, though-back in 2005 or so, I officially separated from the lab to do…..something else…..it required more than a little travel. I was somewhere else when word of my sister’s rather sudden illness got to me, and it took some arranging to get back home. After an 18 hour flight into Denver, I drove down to Albuquerque-about another 8 hours. Then, it looked like my sister was going to be okay, and I drove back to Denver, and then I had to turn right back around and drive down to my sister’s deathbed.

    I noticed, a long the way, that my right calf was sore, and really didn’t think anything of it, until Mom-the nurse/shrink, and uncle, the doctor, took a look at it and said "blood clot." So I went right from my sister’s funeral to the hospital, and from there home to bed, where I had to keep my foot up, take painkillers, and inject anti-coagulants into my belly daily for three months…..funny, one of the very mechanisms that allowed me to function so well with limited lung tissue is part of what led to the blood clot-I have a higher than normal red cell count, part and parcel of life at high altitude, or with ½ of a lung, or both………at the end of those three months, I went back to work, and eventually requalified for what I had been doing-what I’d basically helped start up from an idea on paper to a full fledged working program with facilities, assets and personnel. One of the quals is a lot like any military or law-enforcement PFT, and when I passed that again, it was time to move on, being able to leave the job on my own terms, and having accomplished what I’d set out to do, back in 2004…..my uncle -who was on the cutting edge of medicine at one time, on staff at Johns Hopkins, had pointed out that even though I’d been on extended travel and sitting for most of it, and I’m a tall guy-both of which made me a circumstantial candidate for clotting, along with the high red cell count- deep vein thrombosis like mine in what appeared to be an otherwise healthy male was sometimes a precursor to liver or pancreatic cancer-which my dad died of….so regular MRIs and blood work became part of my routine. No biggie, compared to my childhood-though I’m kind of claustrophobic for MRIs, but it’s not as bad as Level A HAZMAT suit, so I can handle it. :lol:

    Back around the end of last summer, though, I started noticing some shortness of breath-nothing serious, just not being able to sustain notes as long as I’d been used to when singing. I also had some occasional pain in my chest and back. Turns out, the scarring on my lungs-pretty much dormant since I was born, has spread a little, and I’m down to maybe 1/3 of a lung instead of half. That pain I felt was from my ribcage actually expanding to get my body more air. On top of all that, I actually do have some "inflammation" in my pancreas and liver-in fact, as I get thinner, the distention of my bellybecomes more and more noticable-not cancer, but worth monitoring, and not-sob!-drinking…..not drinking much, anyway…..:lfao:

    So, as I always have, I look into the abyss, and, for the first time in years, it looks back…..I’ve had fine medical support all my life, and we’ve worked out a pretty good plan for managing, what has been, after all, completely inevitable from the day I was born…I can’t say I’m not pissed, or sad, or scared-I find myself, surprisingly, all of those things-and, don’t misunderstand, it’s still all vague enough, and I’m still strong enough that it could be decades before I die, but it won’t be easy, or without an eventual oxygen bottle or generator, and it probably won’t be decades, but hey, I wasn’t supposed to get to 11. Scared? More scared that I don’t have what it takes-the "fight of your life" isn’t such a big deal at 6 or 7, looking back, it was just life, and I don’t know that I have that much fight left in me, at 52…..

    After it’s all done, though: planning my medical approach, my workouts, weight loss, etc. After organizing my….."affairs," so that the transition will be easier after I’m gone, after explaining all the "duties" that will fall to my son on my passing, I’m left with….well, first off, I still want to see what happens next-no one wants to leave before the end of the movie, but time takes us for a ride, and that’s it’s end, really.
    But I’m not going to spend my last days drowning in bed-I’ve seen people die suffering, and I’ll take matters into my own hands before it comes to that-I’ve made arrangements for that too. Which brings me to my first question, which really has two parts-or three-parts that put this rather whingy post in the Study, where I’ve done most of my posting, after all:

    1)Given the prospect, would you end your life?

    2)How?, and, if not, why not?

    As for putting my affairs in order, I’m still left with the prospect of a "bucket list," things I absolutely must do before it’s all over:

    Build another house. Rita-that’s the wife-points out that building a patio almost brought us to blows, so this might not happen, but I wouldn’t mind getting it right that way….

    Drag out that novel of mine and get it published.

    Run the Leadville 100 in under 30 or 24 hours. Rita-that’s the wife-says I have to be able to run to the top of Wheeler and back, and she’s right, but that’s in keeping with my "management plan" anyway, but I may have to be satisfied with easier ultras like that nice flat one down in Tucson….

    Sail round Cape Horn……this one’s probably not gonna happen, anymore than I’m ever going to climb Everest again, but it could….

    Take Rita to Venice. And New York, so she can see that it's not all concrete and skyscrapers...:lol:

    Make a room full of people cry tears of joy

    Outlive my mom-she’s seen enough people die in her life, and losing another kid just wouldn’t be fair, at this point.

    Become a Knife Maker’s Guild certified master knife maker. Could have done this years ago, I think.

    Build LOTS of things-too many to mention-that electric motorcycle I designed, a Factory Five racer, put a Northstar engine into a Chevy Vega (don’t ask! :lol: ) knives, and swords-and help Rita with her woodwork...I'd love to build my sailboat-submarine, but unless I fall into an exta $25 million or so, it's just not gonna happen...:lol:

    Get dental implants. I spent the first 12 years or so of my life on cortico steroids, and they destroy calcium. You can replenish all the calcium in your body, though, except for dental calcium-my teeth are a wreck, and will certainly be gone before I am. It will be nice to die with a nice white smile again.....:lfao:

    Set up a foundation to take wounded vets and vets with PTSD on camping trips and to do ceremony with them. On my recent forays into the wild, it’s occurred to me on more than one occasion how what I do for pleasure, young men half a world away have to do under the worst of conditions, and how they might benefit, as I do-after returning to civilian life-from the peace that comes from being away from the presence and clamor of the things of man.

    Take my kids sailing with the whales, one more time….

    Dive with the whale sharks, one more time.....

    Live to my sons 60[SUP]th[/SUP] birthday-I’ll be 83, and that’s probably plenty!

    Barring that, at least outlive this little dog we’ve got. We’re calling him "Banjo."

    View attachment $DSCN1257.jpg
    View attachment $DSCN1261.jpg

    What about you? Gotta "bucket list?" Wanna share? I'd suggest you get right on it, especially if you're young. Next thing you know, you'll be in Walmart watching some guy go by tugging along an oxygen bottle, wondering where the time went, and how you'll manage to go diving with that thing...:lfao:
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2012
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  2. ballen0351

    ballen0351 Sr. Grandmaster

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    That's alot to think about but I will say I have ALWAYS wanted a Fila someday I'll have one. Once my now retired police k9 passes to the big dog house in the sky. He wouldn't do well with another dog right now other then my choc lab that's two and still acts like he's 6 months old so Boris isn't threatened by him yet.


    As for a bucket list there is a lot of places I'd like to see but as far as things I'd want to do well I've done most things on a lot of people's bucket list ive scuba and sky diving mountain climbing I've run point on a swat raid, jumped out of a chopper, spy rigged, drove a race car and off road jeeps, swam with dolphins and sharks, been deep sea fishing, bungie jumped, rappelled, blew things up. My bucket list now consists of doing things with my kids seeing my kids successful. There some places I'd like to travel to and some places I'd like to dive. I've always wanted to do a live aboard in the south Pacificnand I'd like to go to Antarctica. But I can say I'm pretty happy with my life I've got the scars and pains to show it and its been a great ride so far.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2012
  3. bugatabugata

    bugatabugata Orange Belt

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    Hey, the "sail around Cape Horn" item's on mine as well :ultracool Also on my dad's. We've talked about it, since I can remember and I'm working on making it happen (Pressure's on, since he's got some health issues as well, so, your post actually made me sniffle a bit.) Here's hoping your new puppy's a record holder in the dog longevity department, and you not only outlive him, but get to see some great-grandbabies!
     
  4. CanuckMA

    CanuckMA Master of Arts

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    The wife handed me a list. I'm sure some stuff on there involve a bucket. Does that count?
     
  5. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    Ya ever met one? They're not for everybody, and I wouldn't recommend keeping one in an urban area, though it can be done with some of the more moderately tempramented ones....PM me, they're..........difficult, but totally worth it, if you've the time....


    Oh, me too! Time takes you for a ride, and it's been a good ride,so far......
     
  6. ballen0351

    ballen0351 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Ive worked with them before I was a police K-9 handler for a few years and I train dogs for sport/ protection as a little side hobby. I trained one once he was VERY strong willed compared to most dogs Ive trained including Cane Corsos but not as hard headed as a Dalmation they are dumb as a box of rocks. He was awsome once we came to an understanding. I also dont live in an urban setting Im out there beind my house is a 600 acre privae estate its all untouched forest up to the river. And across the street is one more house and then another river. Ive worked and trained dogs for about 10 years.
    I wouldnt get one for many more years my kids are still to young for a dog that big.


    Sometimes I wish I wasnt so quick to say "Yeah sure Ill try that" but Im having fun
     
  7. jks9199

    jks9199 Administrator Staff Member

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    Bucket list? Not really.

    I do my best to live, and not worry about endings. For a long time, I said that "I never plan to die..." Now? A few scares, a few other things have humbled me a bit, including being present at more than a few death scenes, humbled that a bit. It's like being asked about your childhood... I only had mine to judge from, and it was what it was. My decisions to date have made me who I am today, and I generally like the guy I see in the mirror when I shave, so that's that.

    Otherwise... Well, this guy
    View attachment $Chris on Swing.jpg View attachment $Chris with ice cream.jpg View attachment $Chris on Slide.jpg

    is the reason...
     
  8. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    Like most, I've ticked off quite a few things. Didn't get round Cape Horn (force 9 gale got in the way), but would still like to visit India, Egypt, Italy and Greece. Also want to sail Canada's inside Passage, would like to visit Yellowstone and I want to visit the Carribean. Near the top of the list, and has been for 40 years, would be to dive on the wrecks in Truk but top of the top would have to be to fly in a Spitfire. Love, the doggy tails (pun intended), and our two German Shepherds give us great company.At the end of the ride .. I honestly don't know. I certainly don't want to be left in pain fighting for each breath, but hey, who knows. Hopefully I'll just kiss the family good night and not wake up in the morning.
     
  9. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't really have a formal bucket list, and I've been around death long enough to have gotten over the idea of immortality younger than most.
    Between the two of us, we have 10 kids and 6 grandchildren. Our youngest is heading off to College tomorrow, which is, I think, a goal for most parents.
    I've traveled extensively in Europe (I live there for 7 years, and took Sue to England to get married), and in the US.
    I've always been a 'car guy', and I've wanted a Corvette since I was in diapers. I think "Vette" may well have been my first word. I've got the Vette now, and will no doubt be "tweaking" it from now until I die. (Statistically, 5 year survival for stage 4 metastatic carcinoid is 50%, 10 year is down to 10%. It's been 2 years since it was found, and I'm aiming to beat the odds.)
    I've dove around much of the Carribean, including the Mexican cenotes. I'd still like to dive the wrecks at Truk, and I'd dearly LOVE to dive the Atomic Navy off Bikini Atoll, but given the price tag of those dreams, I'm likely to choose making a bunch of trips to Mexico instead.

    As to your question about ending your own life, I've discussed this before, here and (far more importantly) with my loved ones.
    Carcinoid is incurable. I know that (unless something else happens) it will kill me eventually. And one thing I will NOT die from is 'the dwindles'. There will come a time when quality of life reaches a point that I consider unacceptable. At that time, I will have a party and tell my family and friends how much I love them, and what they have meant to me. Then I'll go to bed. That will be the end of it.
    I *hope* that time will be many years from now.
     
  10. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    Me too, dude-that's exactly what I'm praying for you, every day.....
     
  11. seasoned

    seasoned MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Bucket list? My wife and I do what makes us happy, while keeping the bucket, half full, with room for whatever comes our way.

    Great post. I always enjoy reading them, and when done, feel I know you from your heart a little better, and not just some head trash that is the norm for most.

    As for #1, I've been on both sides of the fence, with friends ending their's, and also friends fighting the good fight with terminal illness.
    My take on it is, I've trained all my life to win or go down fighting.


    As for #2, I have pondered my friends actions, and for them it's over. With their final actions of taking their life, their personal choice, I feel it's a cop out.

    Just my opinion, and the way I want to be remembered.....................
     
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  12. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    For me, I prefer to think of it as going out on MY terms, in MY time, while it's still possible to die with some dignity.
     
  13. ballen0351

    ballen0351 Sr. Grandmaster

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    I forgot to answer your questions

    #1 I would never do it I just can't give up no matter what. Not that I believe in some last min cure but having been to many suicides its hard on the family no matter how sick or how near death you are they will always think my dad killed himself. I couldn't do it. I will fight until I am gone. Its just me I wouldn't judge anyone else for making that choice I just know how the family looks at it from dealing with the aftermath. its also illegal to do here and my luck I'd screw it up and then be charged.
    I know If you do it don't have a cat around they will start snacking quick. Dogs will at least hold off for a while until they are starving but I've seen cats chow down in as short as few hours nasty little animals
     
  14. seasoned

    seasoned MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I actually went to bed, lay there for a short time and thought about my comments. Not wanting to sound harsh I decided to add a little bit more for clarification.

    I recently had (2) close friends, 2 years apart, take their own lives. No goodbye's, no chance to talk it over and share, and was left asking myself, WHY... It hit me hard.

    In my later years, my dad confided in me that he would not want to burden anyone with any terminal health issues. With a number of firearms in his house, he said he would handle matters on his own if need be.
    When his health starting to fail real bad, his words lay heavy on my heart. Life at this time was hard for me with thoughts of what he would or could do.
    It was when he sold those guns, that I was able to rest a little easier.
    My dad was a hard nose person all his life and never showed his feelings to anyone, unless it was anger. I was in my 40's when, for the first time, he looked at me and said, "I'm proud of you". This was a first and a last, but it meant the world to me.
    On his death bed, I said "dad I love you" he said back, I love you too. That was the first time I ever heard those words, and the last words, he ever spoke. He died that night.

    Leaving this world I feel, is a very personal thing, and should never be taken lightly. The words I used in my last post "cop out" were a bit insensitive, but I was directing them towards my own circumstances, and in no way trying to dictate the way other people should feel.

    Now, it's back to bed......................... :asian:
     
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  15. bugatabugata

    bugatabugata Orange Belt

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    One more bit of philosophizing for all it's worth -- as humans, much of our existence is built around the illusion of control (and heck, the medical profession has made gajillions of dollars off of perpetuating it) -- I can choose when I'm gonna go, how I'm gonna go. If I just exercise more, and cut down on carbs -- death is an option, not an inevitability. When it's your time, it's your time -- it might be getting run over by the Twinkie truck, or someone following a "do not resuscitate" order. No one knows what happens at the end, even in a worse case scenario, where life is artificially prolonged. Whatever you believe in, spiritually or analytically, the one thing that definitely matters is the legacy you leave in the memory of the people that mattered to you in life. And since you keep talking about your son, and "Rita -- the wife," -- I'll venture a guess that you've done well for yourself in that department. Come what may, people will remember you with love, whenever the time comes (hopefully many years from now). Screw the bucket list.
     
  16. shesulsa

    shesulsa Columbia Martial Arts Academy

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    I am touched by your kindness and saddened by your illness. What a constitution you are and a testimony to ... hmmm ... stubbornness? ;) My chest and stomach have been feeling better since I gave up firewater (for the most part), coffee and crap food. I get a consultation tomorrow for an UGI scope procedure. Please also know I pray for you.

    I don't know. There are some variables. I know that at 19 watching my father melt away over the course of four and a half months was hell. Watching my mother whither and wane over the course of three years and ultimately sitting with her as she breathed her last is an experience I shall never forget. What an honor it was. The emotional suffering from these experiences has undoubtedly shaped me into who I am, taught me lessons it takes others decades more to learn like the value of the human exchange, the importance of surrendering to the moment in order to conquer it, the yin-yang in all things - ALL things - and so much more because of how I see the world now. I'm not sure if, when the times comes when I must face the inevitable, those who love me will be in the place to benefit from such a painful experience as to usher me out into the great beyond. I have not shielded my children from a whole lot of real life because I don't believe in that. And I'm honestly not sure which would be less painful to them - a merciful, quicker suicide or illness and suffering wherein they must culture their nurturing and caring skills. I'm not sure I'm afraid of either though I'm not looking forward to either one right now.

    Ha! Oops! I answered part of this above. As to how ... hmm. With all of Washington's twisty, windy country roads in the Columbia River Gorge, I'm sure I could find some company with Thelma and Louise. Seems like a rich way to go out. Still, it depends on the circumstances - don't know if I'll be able to drive, eh?

    Everytime I say I'm going to do _______ before I'm 40 or see ________ by Christmas, my turbulent life turns upon itself several times over and I find myself unable to achieve the goal. So ... I have a very, very short bucket list. Here it is:

    Close every day having made a sincere effort to better the world and my family for my efforts.

    I think that's the best I can hope for.

    I wanted to try to cure my son's autism and it looks like his type of autism will be curable in children whose wise parents were able to reserve the placenta and/or cord blood stem cells from their birth or a sibling's birth. These were not options for a mom on Cigna Health Plan in 1989 and 1993. But because of what I have been through with him and keep going through with him, for him ... I'm a wiser, stronger, better person and I don't suffer the loss of weaker friends or family. I get lonely but I think this is the way things are supposed to be for me. So I wear my jeans through the knees praying for people and recapturing my own sanity, trying to make the world a better place.

    Peace and health be yours - all love and empowerment, my friend.
     
  17. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    Thanks for your kind comments-thanks for all of your comments.

    Oh, no-let's finish it off, and live to write another!
     
  18. seasoned

    seasoned MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    You are a voice in the wilderness, literally. :) Always a pleasure..............
     
  19. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    Well, I did ask the question knowing there'd be those who feel as you do, Wes-hell, my mom insists I'll go to hell if I take my life. Not too worried about that.

    If there is such a place, I'm probably going there anyway...:lol:



    And this brings up another entire issue, that of legacy……I’ve a pretty good one, I think, though some of the best of it-aside from my kids, and Ria-(that's the wife) - is likely to remain secret. As far as it goes, I guess I'd also like the opportunity to seek some people out and apologize, and to reconnect with long lost friends-that's more "bucket list" stuff, but I was once a much more intemperate young man, and I did more than a few things I'd at least like to say "sorry" for, if there isn't some more tangible way of making amends.

    I’m bemused, though, by the thought of my grandkids-or great-grandkids coming across my posts and threads here on MT, the way I found my grandfather’s letters to the New York Times……:lol: :

    Or….maybe not……:lfao:
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2012
  20. shesulsa

    shesulsa Columbia Martial Arts Academy

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    How's it hangin' Mr. Cuffee? Knocking a few things off your list?:angel:123
     

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