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View a eulogy for Richard Allan Puckett, USMA '64, who passed away on February 4, 2017.

Richard Allan Puckett

West Point, 1964

Be Thou At Peace

Posted by Dick Puckett on June 11, 2017:

(This archived copy was provided by Andy Dykes )

My Bucket List

The week I turned 70 years old. For some reason this seems like a big deal, a significant milestone. Why? I seek out the words of the song,

"It was a very good year."

But now the days grow short

I'm in the autumn of the year

And now I think of my life as vintage wine

from fine old kegs

from the brim to the dregs

And it poured sweet and clear

It was a very good year

I look back at the vintage wine of my life and I find that the one constant ingredient is provided by my wife, a lovely person who has stood by my side through thick and thin. Together we are conquering our world. Our children and grandchildren have provided the spicy, fruity ingredients that flavor in the wine.

Many friends have come and some have gone. The older I get the smaller but more constant my group of friends gets.

My wine has mellowed over the decades as we moved around both as a military family and in civilian endeavors. I've travelled the world and met interesting people. But returning home has always been the best part of each and every trip.

Last night I joined my daughter to work out at a local gym, an up-scale fitness center with the yuppie name of LA Fitness. I found myself announcing to our fitness instructor that I was about to turn 70. I never made such an announcement when I turned 60, or even 50. I caught the instructor watching me more carefully and maybe even glancing over at the portable CPR machine hanging on the wall. So I told him, "Not to worry."

Now I begin a transition. Up to now there have been outside-induced milestones: graduation from schools, marriage, birth of children and grandchildren, retirement with the gold clock, in my case, start Social Security and Medicare. Now, except for more grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the rest of the milestones might be produced from within me. Sure, a lot of people die in their seventies, but not me, at least not for a while. My wife will not allow me to do it.

So what is next, or is there a next? Now I'm in a little bit of a rut, just letting things happen. So I'm making a "bucket list" modeled after a recent movie where the characters put lists of things they have yet to do in a bucket to be pulled out and executed before they "kick the bucket."

One thing is already in the bucket. We are going skiing in Aspen early next year. Hopefully a slight tremor that plagues me will not inhibit my downhill runs. I'll keep my eyes open for something cheap to run into, hopefully not a lawyer.

I put into the bucket a desire to begin a novel that I have been researching for several years. And I add a desire to serve as a central point of communicating with my West Point classmates on-line.

I'll work on remembering a few basic rules of Bridge and even remember to return my partner's lead.

Other items will be added as I actively seek them. Wish me luck.


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