I found the perfect gift this week for a beloved niece of mine.

Barbie keeps in touch, for which I’m so grateful, via email, texting, cell phone. I would like for her to live nearby but chances are that the distance makes us even more determined to keep in touch. If she lived next door we would both probably take communication for granted.

Words I have never heard from the lips of this adored niece is “I’m bored.”  She came to visit me (I lived at Splitlog in my log house, walking distance from her home) when she was about 6 or 7 years of age and she has never been one to just sit and chat. When she found some fireplace firewood she was, as usual, inspired, and borrowed a hammer and lo and behold, I had a lovely kindling box. Another time she created a unique toolbox that even now, 30 years later, I still use, made from kindling and scraps.

Her birthday will be here next month and I found the perfect book for her: “100 Things To Do Before You Grow Up,” by Lisa Gerry. I have no doubt she will consider it a challenge and very possibly before the next birthday rolls around she will have accomplished all 100. I suspect she can already check off most of them, for example, “do something nice for someone but don’t tell them you did it.”  Or, “visit an orchard and pick your own fruit,” “climb a mountain,” “rake leaves into a big pile and then jump into them.”

Some favorites of mine are “step outside of your comfort zone; Champion a cause you care about; organize a scavenger hunt; conquer a fear; or one Barbie could do in a minute, make a bird feeder, or with some of her newly acquired skills, make a video about something important to you.

No nephew or niece of mine was ever allowed to pronounce that they were bored but that was not an issue with Barbie. Promised a hefty monetary award, she very efficiently found 50 leaves/weeds on our property and properly identified them. I still have the scrap book she created.

These days I am blessed when neighborhood children stop by my home on their way to “our island.” When Big Sugar is being gentle, two or three or more children from the neighborhood head for their island where the creek has washed up untold treasures. The body of a vehicle, material to supply their “cave” all shared with me (thank heaven for cameras on cell phones) They remind me of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn as they enthusiastically share  their findings.  I am first aware of their arrival when they are seen at my front door removing their shoes and socks (their idea not mine) before they come in the front door. Delighted if they happen to witness a loping coyote as he runs along the creek bank, a deer family, the great blue herons, a pair of geese. Blessed are they, indeed, to be able to discover nature at her best.

Barbie’s birthday gift will not be a surprise since she reads this column, but now that she knows, she will probably be creating her own 100 things to do and be way ahead of me by her birthday. As I said before, she’s a very special niece.

If you are free this afternoon, you still have time to join us at the McDonald County Historical Court House on the square in Pineville. We are inviting anyone who would like to spend some time at the museum, beginning May 24 to join us and learn about being a museum docent. Just drop in 2 p.m. and learn about this grand old courthouse that is now a museum for the McDonald County Historical Society. If you would like to share your personal family history, do call us, leave a message at 223-7700 or write P.O. Box 572, Pineville, 64856 or check us out on Facebook. Hope to see you soon, and you might want to get started on the 100 things you’d like to do before you grow up.

Alberta Anders writes a weekly column for the Daily News.