The Bucket List

I call my friend Dan, Beterweet. That means Know-all in another one of our 11 official languages. We are sitting on a bench that has been placed high on a sand dune in memory of a local resident. It’s a dazzling beauty of a day looking out over the beach and the Indian Ocean. We are talking about ‘kicking the bucket’. Beterweet, tells me that the phrase is probably an old prison term, used when a prisoner would stand on the cell’s (shit*) bucket to commit suicide, by hanging, then a cellmate would kick the bucket out from underneath him. I tell him that I will be 71 years old next August. He smirks that he has known that for 50 years. After grieving joyfully about some of our friends who have kicked the bucket, whilst watching Cormorants and seagulls fly past our pristine view, I start talking about my bucket list. It seems a popular theme of late, even featured in a number of SA magazines. Beterweet chuckles and says that I can’t have a bucket list because there is a hole in my bucket. There is a short vibration from the bench beneath us. I ignore all this and start talking to myself, and the few Country Life readers who might still be reading ‘Parting Shot’. I would like, for once, to write the opening shot, go to the spectator’s gallery in parliament wearing a blue overall, go for a swim on Durban’s Kings Beach on Christmas Day, photograph in Afghanistan and if they haven’t kidnapped my bucket, travel to the Hindu Kush, (Dan and I attempted this in 1968, but due to severe snowstorms, only made it as far as Anatolia), sing a last song in a rock band, drive the Gun Barrel Highway across central Australia, return to the centre of the world, the Hotazel Bottle store in Hotazel, then wait for the first tourist to stop there and ask him for money for a halwe broodjie, have 3 of the best Guinness’ in Dublin, but almost top of my list is driving back up the Ongeluks Nek Pass again. It was years ago, sometime in the early 1980’s. I still remember clearly, skidding and spinning out more on the donkey and mule dung than the mud. On the top of the Ongeluk’s Nek, I took this photograph. Full bucket.


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