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Buster Holloway, 82, held on tight to the railing as he lowered himself into the 3-foot whirlpool at Bishop Park in Bryant, with help from staff member Luke Neel.
"You are a lifeguard, right?" Holloway asked.
Holloway ventured into the water for the first time in more than 10 years but quickly gained confidence and moved to the 5-foot section of the pool. Before long, he was lunging through the water on his own, as Neel attempted to keep up.
"You swim like a fish," Neel said.
Holloway used to swim all the time, and he said you never forget. He is able to fulfill his wish of swimming again because of a project through Southern Trace Rehabilitation Care Center. The center grants "bucket list" wishes for it's residents. The term bucket list comes from the 2007 movie "The Bucket List." In the film, two terminally ill men, played by Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. Since then, the phrase has taken on a general meaning for things people wish to accomplish at some point in their life.
Kim Sisney, activities director at Southern Trace, said they started granting bucket list wishes every month about a year ago.
A lot of the senior get to experience things they've never done before. Sisney said she has taken them to horse races, Woodland Gardens and Hope Watermelon festival.
Sisney said Holloway had been looking forward to this. He swings his arms, pretending to swim, all the time.
"Is there alligators in there?" he asked Sisney.
"No, they took them out before we came," Sisney said, laughing.
Holloway is a jokester. At first, he introduced himself as Buster Crabbe, movie actor. Crabbe was a film actor in the 1930s and '40s and also an Olympic gold medalist in swimming.
Outings like this are just one way the center tries to entertain its residents. They also take the seniors out to the movies and shopping once a month.
"I thought the bucket list thing would be fun," Sisney said. "They are getting to do things that, otherwise, they wouldn't get to do. They love the outings."
In the end, Holloway said he wanted to come back and do it again. "I done pretty good, didn't I?"