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More than halfway home and crossing off the bucket list

POSTED: June 26, 2011 12:30 a.m.

A book that I read a few years ago suggested that 40 is really the halfway point in life. If you flip to the obituary listings in this newspaper, there is some validity to that premise. While more and more people are living longer, most of the departed ones listed are around 80.

This week, I turned 51. If I live to be 100, which is old enough to get you on a jelly jar on the Today show, I am over halfway there. Willard Scott is 77. The odds are against him making it to 126 to announce my big day.

If I make it to 80, I only have 10,592 days left. If I make it to 100, there are 17,897 days, including leap years.

As of last week, I had racked up 18,627 days. Some of them have been pretty good ones and there have been several that I would rather forget.

There have been a few days that I didn't get out of the bed. Do you have to count those?

I don't feel 51, not that I really know what 51 is supposed to feel like. Sometimes I feel like I'm 25, but then I look in the mirror and I see this multitude of chins staring back at me.

I have a much greater appreciation for the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz." Some mornings I wake up and need a little oil to get moving around. This often comes in the form of a warm shower that magically transforms those stiff bones into something a bit more mobile.

Before I ever heard of a bucket list, I had a few things I wanted to accomplish. I have knocked a pretty good dent in that list and some of the remaining items will take a little work. No, they'll take a lot of work.

I have set foot in all 159 counties in Georgia. The last one, Glascock County, was not a memorable visit. I was driving through and stopped long enough to open the car door and put my foot on the ground. I hope that counts.

One of my dreams is to hike the Georgia portion of the Appalachian Trail. Before I can carry a 50-pound backpack, I need to shed my 75-pound front pack.

I have crossed a few things off my list. When I was a kid, I slipped away from our room in a Holiday Inn and saw a guy with great hair and really white teeth singing in a cocktail lounge. There was a black and white photo of him on a poster in the front lobby. I wanted to be that guy.

Thank God that lounge singers have gone the way of the nickel Coke, otherwise, I could be attempting to sing in some flea bag hotel in Toledo, Missoula or Poughkeepsie.

I'm not sure if it was one or three items on my list, but I have always wanted to use Toledo, Missoula and Poughkeepsie in a sentence and I just did ... twice.

I have also eliminated entering the seed spitting contest at the Watermelon Festival in Cordele, but I would like to climb down from the Titan missile out beside the Cordele Krystal wearing a silver space suit.

I think I've got a better chance on the Appalachian Trail.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and at gainesvilletimes.com/harris.



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