• Marty Jalove

My Little Bucket

I loved building sandcastles when I was little. At the lake, I would run to the sand with bucket in hand. I had grand plans of building fortresses, palaces, and entire empires on the beach.

The trick was to find a clean, clear palate of sand. Not too far from Mom so she could occasionally lather me up with sunscreen. And not too close to where my brother was playing because I knew his goal in life was to kick over my castles.


I would start by digging a moat in a great big circle and pile up that sand in the center to elevate the foundation of my city. I would pack my bucket with damp sand and start forming the protective towers that surrounded the castle in the epicenter. I would create tiny windows, doorways, and winding stairways that led to pretend places that I could visit in my imagination.


Once I was done building, it was time to fill the moat. I needed to walk back and forth from the lake, fill my pail with water, and carefully pour it into the deep ditch that surrounded my masterpiece. Filling that protective perimeter was the only way to briefly safeguard against the imminent doom and destruction that was my big brother.

But then it happened. I felt all my dreams were being flushed away. I looked down and saw water draining from my bucket. My pail was cracked. It had a hole in it. Perhaps weakened from weekends of digging, it could no longer hold water. I stood staring at my almost-complete creation, listening to the surf in the background as my dreams dripped from my broken bucket.


Just then, my brother ran over. I sighed, “Go ahead. Kick it over. I don’t care anymore. Someday, I’ll get a new bucket and build a bigger and better castle. One that even you can’t knock over.”


Then he shouted, “Don’t just stand there! Pour the water in the moat before it all disappears!”


Without hesitation, he grabbed the broken bucket from my hand and sprinted back and forth from the lake to my castle. Filling the moat at a speed that only big brothers and superheroes can run. He helped me finish my project. He helped me build something that up until then was just a dream. In the history of sandcastles, this was the best that brothers had ever built.

Many of us have Bucket Lists. Thoughts and ideas of doing special somethings on days that may never come. We create obstacles, excuses, and reason not to finish and fulfill our dreams. But true happiness comes from realizing that all our buckets have holes in them. If we keep dreaming and never doing, our dreams will disappear and never come true.

All things in life are temporary. Stop hesitating, stop procrastinating. Go out and finish building the castles you’ve been dreaming about before your bucket empties itself.

As seen in Hawthorn Woods CC Magazine. Follow “Bacon Bits with Master Happiness” on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.


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