Column: A day with Jane marks one off the list

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I am not a big fan of making a lot of goals, but I am very happy when I can cross one off a list.

On New Years Day, I generally follow the advice of making a resolution to make no resolutions. It is the only one I’ve been able to keep. At Lent, even though I’m not Catholic, I usually make a promise not to drink soda for 40 days or abstain from chocolate and I am pretty good at keeping that pledge.

I also gave up soda last summer, but it was only from June through September and only to see if I had enough will power (I did) to last longer that 40 days without sipping from the cup of temptation.

(My mother always gives up watermelon for Lent. Not because she loves to eat watermelon. No. Actually, it makes her sick, but she’s proud of the fact she’s never eaten watermelon for the 40 days preceding Easter)

I do have a list of a handful of things I want to do before I’m worm food.

I want to witness the sunrise over Machu Pichu in Peru, see the pyramids in Egypt, fly in a hot air balloon and in a helicopter, visit Venice in the winter, meet Chuck Yeager and Scatman Crothers, stay in the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island in October, and have my July 1980 copy of American Cinematographer signed by one of the leading stars of “Somewhere In Time.”

However, I had to cross Scatman Crothers off the list in 1986 when he passed away. I crossed Chuck Yeager off the list last year when I was told (by someone who knew him personally) the man who broke the sound barrier wasn’t such a nice man in person.

Of the seven remaining “Bucket List” things I want to do, I have managed to knock the number down by nearly half.

When Big Bear held its first Balloon Festival in Grove City a few years ago, I was scheduled to take an evening flight. However, threatening skies grounded all of the flights that day. The next year, I managed to hitch a ride on a Wonder Bread balloon out of Kansas City. We ascended at 7 a.m., but the flight was cut short. We only went a few hundred feet up and towards Columbus before being told to land over Urbancrest because the sky was too hazy. It would be nice to have a true, full-length flight, but I’m still satisfied with my brief sojourn.

Check off one box on the list.

In 2001, my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary by spending two nights and three days at the Grand Hotel at the end of October. It was the last weekend of the season and Mackinac Island was mainly devoid of tourists, which gave the usually bustling island a unique sense of serenity and calm. It was typical weather for October, one day rainy and overcast and the next sunny and crisp.

We dined like royalty, strolled the Grand’s porch, and drank champagne at night. We watched a showing of “Somewhere in Time” in the hotel’s ballroom and toured the historic building from one end to the other. When it was time to go, we departed in a horse-drawn carriage.

Mark off another item.

On Feb. 24 of this year, at the Home and Garden Show, I crossed off another goal with the click of a digital camera as Jane Seymour, who played Elise McKenna in “Somewhere in Time,” signed my by now somewhat tattered July 1980 copy of American Cinematographer. The movie star, dancer, and home décor designer was promoting a new book and a new line of items echoing her fondness of special places and things.

A standing-room only crowd surrounded a small stage as she spoke passionately of her interest in art and flowers. I stood off to the side, amazed I was standing so close to Jane Seymour and knowing the list was about to be shorter by one goal. After her presentation, I quickly went to the garden side of the show where she was signing books and other artifacts like the one jostling in my purse.

I bought her book for my mother and the author signed it “with love,” but the signature scrawled in black across her picture on the cover of the magazine, where she looks up at Christopher Reeves as Richard Collier, was the grail of another goal. She had no idea what such a simple act meant, and I had no time to tell her. I carefully rolled up the magazine, found my mother, who was much more impressed with the book than my worn 28-year-old publication, and headed for home.

Linda Dillman is a Messenger staff writer.

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