The other day, my daughter Chloe came home talking about a “bucket list.” You’re thirteen, I said. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you. Why are you thinking about a bucket list?
In any event, I started thinking. It seems as though all of a sudden I’m in my mid-forties. I don’t feel old, but I’m am keenly aware that I don’t have as much time as I used to. I’ve always said that I need to live to be one hundred because that’s how long it’s going to take to do all the things I want to do. I’ve got a lot of life to live. My list is pretty long. That bucket had better be pretty deep. What’s on my bucket list? Well, traveling the world, of course. I’d like to spend a good chunk of time in Africa and Southeast Asia. And then there’s that apartment in Paris. Oh, and I want to ride on a camel . . . in Egypt . . before I cruise down the Nile. I’ve accepted that there are some things I’ll never do, or at least, I’ll never master. I’ll probably never run a marathon. Chances of me learning to paint are slim. I’ll never be an accomplished pianist or even good enough to play in a neighborhood bar. That’s okay. I might still try. As I’ve said before, there’s a certain satisfaction that comes with learning something new.
I have a handful of modest aspirations, too; things that are within reach and don’t require a huge investment of time or capital. Top of that list: Zydeco dancing.
Turns out, there’s a sizable Louisiana contingent in the Bay Area. I was reminded of that fact last week when I heard a radio broadcast about the Zydeco scene that has flourished here since the first workers migrated west in the ’30s and ’40s to work in the shipyards. That scene continues here today at places like Ashkenaz in Berkeley and Eagle Hall in Alameda, where on Tuesdays (at Ashkenaz) and Fridays (at Eagle Hall), you can take Zydeco dance lessons before the band performs. I took a dance lesson at Ashkenaz a couple years back. It was fun. And since my daughter has me thinking about my bucket list, I’ve decided to go back. I’ll let you know how it goes.
In the meantime, here’s a video of the musician, Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole. What he’s playing here isn’t exactly Zydeco; it’s more of a Cajun waltz. But it’s charming just the same, and, I’d bet, a lot of fun to dance to on a dusky Louisiana evening. Perhaps you’d care to join me.