A thought or two about buckets lists. Before the terminology “Bucket lists” there were “wish lists”, and in 1973 as a horse named Secretariat captivated the world by winning the Triple Crown, my mother and I created a wish list. Number one on that list was to attend the Kentucky Derby. Unbeknownst to me, my mother and her siblings had long followed horse racing and celebrated the Derby by watching it on TV and following it up with many excited phone calls and letters. They didn’t have the benefit of cell phones or FaceTime, but if they had, the internet would have been burning up. As a teenager, watching and cheering the Kentucky Derby with my mother was exactly the right magic to create a life long memory.
Zip forward 45 years (OMG, has it really been 45 years!) and I finally got the chance to attend the Kentucky Derby! It’s a big deal. YES, it’s a big deal. Buying the tickets online in November was a hair raising experience - 3 of my friends online at the same time all trying to secure tickets for me as the Ticketmaster time clock wound down. Finally got tickets and the dream becomes a reality.
The remaining 6 month flew by in slow motion - I needed a hat, I needed a dress - which came first? The hat or the dress? Where would we stay - most of the RV sites had been booked for over a year, and the rest were way too expensive for us. Finally I was able to book four nights at the local KOA by reserving separate spaces on each of the nights we would be in Louisville. Luckily (bless her heart) some wonderful employee at the KOA looked at the reservation and managed to combine all four nights into one reservation and one site for our entire stay.
I’ve gotten off topic here, but the fact I wanted to stress was that this trip was fulfilling a wish list, or bucket list. As I came to realize, we weren’t the only ones. My first indication was chatting with friends and co-workers. All I had to do was mention the Kentucky Derby and their faces would light up - “Oh, I’ve always wanted to go there” and “OMG you’re going to the Kentucky Derby!”.
Once we arrived in Kentucky, it was no different. At the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, a woman I met on the trail ride told me that she was traveling with an Aunt on a birthday trip because it had been on their bucket list. The man in the KOA campground who helped us with battery issues said that it was a bucket list trip for his wife. The over-the-top experienced horse man on the bus returning from the races confided - to the entire bus - that this had been a bucket list day for him. A lady at the next table to us in a Louisville pub loudly told her friends she had ticked a checkbox off her bucket list.
It made me wonder. Other than the locals and yearly fans, is the Kentucky Derby filled with bucket list people? There were 150 thousand of us. How many were fulfilling a dream like I was? Whatever the number, it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling to realize that we were all there because this was exactly where we wanted to be and had dreamed about being for so long. Call it a wish. Call it a Bucket list. Call it a checkbox on the list. It occurred to me it was all the same. Doesn’t matter which horse won (although mine did) or how much rain fell on our parade - the fact was that we were all there at that time, come hell or high water, and that it was a special moment for so many people.
My advice? Put the Kentucky Derby on your wish list - you won’t regret it.