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Oh, she’s in Washington, D.C. Apparently moving here has severely impacted my ability to blog. So what have I been up to the past two months?

Well, my first week here, I had all the evils spirits in me sucked out by a Mexican shaman.

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When I was a kid and school was canceled because of snow, my mother would take me into work with her. At the time, she worked at the county courthouse, in the heart of uptown Kingston. I remember parking in the lot behind the courthouse, dodging around mounds of shoveled snow, walking in through the side door, past the metal detector and the old county bar association photos, up the elevator and into my mom’s office, where I’d tap away on a typewriter all morning. (Oh yeah, foreshadowing much?) Around lunchtime, we’d head down the elevator, past the photos and the metal detector, out the door and down the bluestone sidewalk, already wet with melting snow, to Nekos, the luncheonette that everyone uptown went to, where a man I called “Eggy Eddie” stood at the grill and made me lunch as I spun around on the wobbling stools at the counter. Nekos had something for everyone — for the attorneys who worked uptown and came in every day for lunch, for the poor souls on jury duty down the street at the courthouse, and for annoying little children like myself who just wanted some candy or a homemade chocolate rabbit the size of my head. (Yes, “size of my head” is a completely accurate measurement. Leave it to the little Jewish girl to completely devour the milk chocolate Easter Bunny. Yum!)

So naturally my heart skipped a beat last week when I got a text from Tori telling me that Nekos Luncheonette was closing up shop after 109 years of cooking up lunch for half of uptown Kingston.

A few summers ago, hoping to save up money for Prague, I swung by Nekos and asked Eggy Eddie if he needed any extra help. The next week, I was pouring cups of coffee, serving up eggs and chatting up the regulars who sat at the counter. As the summer went on, I learned that Ed (apparently you can’t call your boss by your childhood nickname for him) had been trying for ages to sell Nekos, started by his grandfather and now a Wall Street institution. Owning Nekos meant that Ed never had a free moment. He couldn’t go on vacation, he couldn’t get the surgery he badly needed, he couldn’t ever sleep in. Ed lived and breathed that business, something that I really respect about him. I didn’t make a whole lot of money that summer, but I got something different out of the experience. Kingston isn’t a big town — some of the regular customers had known me since Joanna and I were those little kids spinning on the stools. When I turned to the sink to wash dishes or restock the creamers, I’d hear Ed telling a customer, “That’s Marsha and Jerry’s kid” and before you knew it, I’d have a stranger telling me some story about my parents or about myself as a toddler. ┬áNekos didn’t have flashy decor or an exciting, ever-changing menu, but it had that homey, familial feel. When you were there, you belonged. Day after day, year after year, Ed chatted up the folks eating at the counter as he worked the grill. I cleared plates and listened to him talk. He knew everyone and everything that went on in that town and found a way to relate to every person who walked through the front door. The food might have been cheaper and quicker at the diner down Washington Avenue, but at Nekos, everything had a personal touch.

The property is going to be turned into a sustainable diner, and the new owners, who currently own an organic butcher shop next door, have said that they hope to incorporate aspects of the luncheonette into the space.

I did some shopping uptown when I got back from India. In a rush to get back to my car before the meter expired, I didn’t poke my head into Nekos to say hello. I slowed down and glanced in the window. Ed stood at the grill wearing a white apron over a white t-shirt, head turned over his shoulder, talking to a couple sitting at the counter. His daughter poured coffee for someone seated a few stools down. It was a scene I’d seen hundreds of times over the years, something I never thought I wouldn’t see again.

Two months ago, in an attempt to escape the midday heat in Goa, Mimsie and I tracked down the local Cafe Coffee Day, India’s answer to Starbucks and one of the only places around with A/C. In the course of conversation, one of us mentioned bucket lists. In general, I’m not a list-maker, something that stems from a long history of misplacing things. I used to make lists and then lose them, only to find them weeks, months or years later when I didn’t need them anymore. The general frustration at finding so many half-written lists turned me off of the idea as a whole. But on that hot afternoon, amped up the iced coffee and good company, I decided to go for it. I grabbed my e-ticket — the only paper I was guaranteed not to lose while I was traveling — flipped it over and started writing. As our trip went on, the list grew. And grew. And grew.

This weekend, I noticed one of my roommates had her own bucket list tacked up in a corner of her bedroom. Inspired, I dug through the bag I traveled with in India and found the dirty, crumpled e-ticket with the list scribbled on the back. I’m almost guaranteed to lose the list again, so before I do, I’ll post it here, so there will at least be some record of its existence.

1. Be in a Bollywood movie

2. Live on a boat

3. Go to Italy for the food

4. Go on a safari

5. See Victoria Falls

6. Adopt a child from a foreign country

7. Attend the Kentucky Derby

8. Own an antique pasta-maker

9. Dogsled in Mongolia and take the Transsiberian Railroad back through Russia

10. Tend my own vegetable garden

11. See the Northern Lights

12. Ride in a hot-air balloon

13. Go on a blind date

14. Own a potter’s wheel

15. Write a Modern Love column

16. Hang-glide

17. Bake a wedding cake

18. Meet a Korean pop star

19. Own a hammock

20. Get a tiger dog

21. Go to Cuba

Not a bad list, if I do say so myself. Obviously some of these are reaches, but some seem pretty doable (hammock? pasta maker? dogsled?). And yes, I am aware that most of my goals revolve around food and/or travel. Totally legit.

What’s on your bucket list? I hope not “rob a bank,” like this unfortunate woman.