Tuesday, February 22, 2011

a strangers view...

After one peaceful evening last October I crawled out of my tent to a frosty, dark morning a hundred or so miles west of here. I was over there exploring some new hunting areas during the day and sitting outside in the chilly air sipping Knob Creek and pondering the Hunter's moon at night. A pretty fine way to spend some time, I think, and that morning I was about to light my stove and boil up some coffee when I thought "to heck with it," and drove into the nearest town to get some breakfast.

It was still dark when I spotted a little diner with quite a few vehicles parked outside and a sign that claimed "home cooking." As it turned out the claim was false. Compared to the mostly sorry breakfasts I usually have, this place was far better. I suppose most everyone in the place knew each other so I got the usual looks when a stranger comes into a place like that. It was during the week and I'm guessing most of the regulars worked at an equipment manufacturing plant a few miles outside of town. I sat down at a table and the waitress came and poured me coffee without my asking and told me the breakfast special was the way to go. So I ordered it without knowing what it was. A minute later I saw it posted on a chalkboard by the door.

An older guy that everyone greeted by name came in and took a stool at the counter and ordered his meal while she poured his coffee. I kinda overheard the waitress scolding him and warning about his cholesterol level and health in general. A couple of others seemed to side with the waitress and joined in. I'm thinking he had a heart problem, or something. He knew these folks were his friends and were concerned about him, but he just took a sip from his cup and looked up and said, "Now listen..."

Then this guy went on to tell them just how content he was and how he'd seen the world in the service, lived in Hawaii for a while, built his own house in the woods with the help of his wife and raised three kids, the early years without electricity, who were grown and successful and gone. He'd fished and hunted in Alaska and worked and played hard all his life, and made a passel of friends doing it. His wife had passed and he didn't figure at his age there was much left ahead for him. He was happy and satisfied and all he wanted in life was a big plate of bacon and eggs -- and if it killed him he'd have no regrets.

While I was digging into my own bacon and eggs I thought about what he'd talked about. I don't think everyone has to go skydiving or bull-fighting to live a full life, but you need to do something. We all have things we want and need to do that are important to us. I guess we all have our own bucket list. The idea is to keep it short.

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