Sunday, May 27, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Keith Burris


Bucket lists, resolutions, fresh starts



I don't know whether it was the movie of a few years ago that made “the bucket list” popular, or whether it is a passing fad.

But I like the idea of making a list of stuff you really want to get done while you are still healthy.

Former Blade editor Tom Walton had sky diving on his list. So, he did it.

My bucket list is fairly short: I'd like to go to Ireland, a place beloved by my late, dear mother and a place where I have not been. I'd like to go with my wife and three children.

I'd also like to go to Rome — to see that city of brutality and beauty and the great man who is now Pope. And I'd like to learn to handle a small sailboat on my own.

My mentor here is my friend Bill who bought a sailboat (a big one) at the age of 68. Mind you, he grew up sailing. He knew what he was doing.

I won't say “it's never too late.” Sometimes it is. But people can change. Institutions and customs can too.

A few days ago, I heard the Rev. Elizabeth Hoster, of this city, urge a congregation to do random acts of kindness for strangers: Buy the guy behind you in line a cup of coffee.

A few months back, the Rev. Robert Culp, dean of African-American ministers in Toledo, urged that people try this, especially, with members of another race.

He tried it himself and got a couple of bad reactions, but, mostly, overwhelmingly positive responses.

I know a guy who resolved, this year, to turn off Sunday televised sports and take a walk with his wife instead.

I know another guy, who is a cancer survivor, whose resolution is simply to say “thank you” each day.

The comedian Louis C.K. says, “Everything is amazing and no one is happy.”

If we all resolved to do a kind deed, every day, as the Boy Scouts taught so many of us, and say thank you once a day, wouldn't we feel happier?

Did I mention that I used to think resolutions were dumb?

Resolutions are midwives to the virtue of hope — a profound virtue and for most human beings, an impulse: We can begin again.

We are inaugurating a new mayor in our city. He is tackling old problems with new energy and ideas. Are there really new ways to tackle blight, economic development, or crime?

You know what? There are.

There are new ideas and new faces and there is new hope. And new energy can carry us forward.

Think about Social Security; the Marshall Plan; the GI Bill, the great civil rights legislation. Think about the giants who helped make those things possible.

Think about the giants who built this city and left us our art museum, our library, our architecture.

So let's give Mike Collins a chance to try to be a strong mayor. And Jack Ford a chance to tackle the housing problem. And Sandy Spang a chance to make Toledo an Eden for small business.

And Baldemar Velasquez a chance to organize our youth and Romules Durant a chance to educate them.

And all of us a chance to be more patient and kind.

Let's firmly resolve to jump from airplanes and see the sights and make our lives and our community better. Let's hope.

Keith C. Burris is a columnist for The Blade.

Contact him at: or 419-724-6266.

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