Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Blue Bayou and Buckets

On our recent trip to Disneyland, we ate at the Blue Bayou restaurant, some place I have wanted to eat since I was a little girl. This restaurant really isn't that great - mostly just another overpriced, marginal food, theme park restaurant. But the thing about it is, it's located inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I know! Coolest thing in the WHOLE WORLD to a little girl on her first trip to the Happiest Place on Earth.

When you get on the ride, before you get to the Pirate part, you first go through this sort of Louisiana swamp area at "night", and it's all dark and there's crickets chirping and fireflies and such. (This is because the ride is located in the New Orleans Square area of Disneyland. You know, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland...and New Orleans Square. Yeah, I don't get it either.)

So in this first part of the Pirates ride, you go through the swamp, and in the swamp, there's the restaurant. And you go by in your little boat and can see all the people on the "terrace" "outside" at their tables eating by lantern-light. And when I was a little girl, I wanted DESPERATELY to eat at that restaurant. A restaurant! Inside the ride! Clearly, you had to be somebody special in order to eat there. Of course, on that trip, we didn't eat at the Blue Bayou, probably because it was too expensive, but all I really remember is how much I wanted to go there and we didn't.

Since that first visit to Disneyland, I have been back several times. And each time, I still wanted to eat at the Blue Bayou and for whatever reasons, circumstances have always prevented it. So finally, this time, neither time nor money nor ANYTHING else was going to stop me. I told Mr. Fantastic that no matter what, we were eating there, come hell or high water, whether he wanted to or not. I called two weeks early to make a reservation.

Come the big day, it all went off without a hitch, and suddenly, there we were, sitting in the dark of a Louisiana swamp, listening to the frogs and crickets, watching the people go by in their little boats and eating our marginal food. And I could not have been happier. I sat there the whole time enjoying the heck out of myself, remembering how it felt to be the little girl in the boat going by, wanting so badly to be on that terrace eating my lunch. I was inordinately pleased - so happy I was almost in tears and could not wipe the giant grin off my face.

As our meal came to a close, I had a realization. I had just done something I had longed to do almost my entire life. I looked at my companions, Mr. Fantastic and Mummy Fantastic and little Fletcher, and I said with swelling heart, "I think I just crossed something off my bucket list."

And the thing is - I don't even have a bucket list. Or, I didn't. But I do now. The feeling of happiness and accomplishment over achieving something so trivial yet so important coupled with the recent loss of my brother made me remember that yes, life IS too short. Too short to put off doing the things you want to do and too short not to have a list of crazy things you've always wanted to try.

So, here it is, the start of my bucket list - most definitely a work in progress that I will be adding to as I think of things that time or money or distance or sheer seeming-impossibility have always kept me from doing.

1. Eat at the Blue Bayou in Disneyland
2. Go on a hot air balloon ride
3. Visit Australia
4. Visit Ireland
5. Ride/drive a Ferrari
6. Wear a sexy red dress someplace fancy
7. Partake of a croquembouche
8. …

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