Wineka column Starting early on Bucket List

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 30, 2012

SALISBURY — When you think of bucket lists, you picture someone my age finally grasping the notion that the days ahead of him are far fewer than the days behind him.
So he makes a list of things he needs to do before croaking.
Those lists are usually quite spectacular. Climb Mount Everest. Jump out of a plane. Go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. See the Seven Wonders of the World. (Or is it eight?) Write your great American novel. See every Major League Baseball park in North America. Have Salma Hayek sign both of your biceps in permanent ink.
I find merit in bucket lists. They are goal-oriented, if not desperate, but they beg the question, why did we wait so long to start doing these things?
Meet Becca Bare and Lindsey Olson, teenagers who recently have made their own bucket list of things they want to do together.
It’s a fluid list, which has now reached 207 different items.
Their aspirations take in the dangerous. No. 61 is jumping out of a moving car. No. 175 is “Climb a water tower,” and No. 15 says simply, “Lie in the road.”
The girls are pranksters, too. They want to “teepee” someone’s house, cover a person’s car in Sticky Notes and “glue quarters to a street in the crosswalk and photograph people who (try to) pick them up.”
“We get bored too easily,” Bare apologizes, “and when we get bored …”
“Things happen,” Olson says, finishing the sentence.
Some items on the girls’ bucket list are downright silly, such as No. 97 — “Duct-tape turtles together” — or No. 99 — “Stomp grapes in the bathtub.”
Then there are the pleasant, simple pleasures: sleeping under the stars, catching lightning bugs, staying awake to watch a sunrise, taking a midnight bike ride and dancing with a complete stranger.
Bare and Olson, both home-schooled, became fast friends playing volleyball, basketball and softball with the Stallions of the Greater Cabarrus Athletic Association.
The idea for the bucket list probably originated with Olson’s great aunt, Pauline Cavanaugh, who is 85. At 80, Pauline checked off an item on her own bucket list when she rode a four-wheeler.
The next thing on her list is to ride a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Lindsey’s mom got into the act when she resolved to participate in a team sport and wound up playing church softball.
Somehow the girls’ conversation landed one night on things they could hope to do together once summer came around, and soon they were writing down a bucket list of 100 or so goals.
But it kept growing.
“We’re constantly thinking of things to do,” Olson says.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with 1,000 by the time we’re 30,” Bare adds.
Bare, 18, lives in Landis and is working this summer at the Sweet Frog yogurt place in Kannapolis. She plans to attend Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. Her interests, beyond sports, are in the culinary and photographic fields.
Olson, 17, lives in Harrisburg, has one more year of high school and is employed this summer at a floral shop. She says her long-term aspirations run toward agriculture and one day having her own cattle farm or a rescue ranch for abused horses.
They think the weirdest thing on their list is the hope of having water fountains in each of their homes that dispense Kool-Aid.
The girls haven’t thought through everything on the bucket list. They want to “hike down the Grand Canyon,” which leads Bare to realize, “Oh, wait, we have to go back up.”
I accuse the girls —unfairly, I think — of being heavy on food and time-oriented goals.
For example, they want to try all 31 Baskin-Robbins flavors and every variety of Pop Tarts, go to iHop at 1 a.m. and eat a whole jar of peanut butter at one sitting.
Other things sound like Guinness Book of World Records material:
Talk on the phone for more than six hours.
Stay awake for seven days.
No talking for a day.
Say “yes” to everything for 24 hours.
No texting for a week.
No Facebook for two weeks.
Take a photograph every day of summer.
Learn to say “hello” in 50 languages.
To track their journey and progress, Bare and Olson plan to blog, post Facebook updates and record some things on YouTube.
I fear, however, that I haven’t given you a complete picture of the girls’ list.
They have many “standard” things they want to accomplish — visiting the Eiffel Tower, Golden Gate Bridge and Mount Rushmore; seeing Times Square at night and watching the ball drop on New Year’s Eve; riding a hot-air balloon; taking a cruise; going on a safari; witnessing the Northern Lights; attending the Grammy Awards; and touring Ground Zero, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.
They want to go whale-watching and swim with dolphins. Their bucket list includes running a marathon, cliff diving, bungee jumping, writing a song and writing a book.
They also have many humanitarian goals — pledges to work at a soup kitchen, volunteer once a week at a children’s hospital, make flower vases for the elderly, serve on a disaster relief team, go on missions, organize a food drive and place a flower on every grave in a cemetery.
The best part about their bucket list?
Bare and Olson will always have something to do together.
And that could be No. 208:
Stay friends for life.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or mwineka@