Saturday, June 04, 2011

Daddy Jumped Out of an Airplane, Too.

For a guy who didn’t have any specific plans for the weekend, my day took an exciting turn.

The children have gone skydiving over the last couple of weekends and people have been hammering me with “When are you going?” There was no answer to that question; but an unanticipated slot opened at Skydive Louisiana, and it was made available to me. I considered it for a couple of minutes, then thought, “Aw, chute! Why not?”

As word of this feat spread, I was called crazy, brave, “a bigger man than me,” that sort of thing; but to be honest, it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. Once I made the decision to go for it, I had a total sense of peace about it. I mean, I’ve watched my children fall out of the sky and land safely. What did I have to worry about? I think my wife has even grown accustomed to dealing with the stress of watching a loved one plummet to Earth from 10,000 feet.

The plane in which we all have flown is small and thoroughly no-frills. I think at some point I might have compared it to a tin can. The flight, which takes 20-30 minutes, was exceedingly pleasant, though. I enjoyed seeing the north Louisiana countryside from the air and was fascinated with the curves and currents of the Red River. I was also encouraged to see so much progress being made on the northern extension of Interstate 49.

When it came time to actually jump out of the plane, I wasn’t nervous or scared. It was a tandem jump, and I had the same guy strapped to my back that the kids had, so I had gotten to know him a little. He shouted a “ready, set, GO!” and we tumbled from the door, doing a full somersault in the process. It was quite a thrill. I really didn’t have a sense of falling. It felt more like sitting in the bow of a motorboat as it skids across the water full-tilt.

The skydiver taking photos hung in the air right beside us, at one point coming over to me for a high-five.

I remember letting out a “Woo-hoo” or two along with way. Then, my man Bill gave the signal that he was about to pull the cord to open the chute. That went without incident.

I was asked if I had a moment of trepidation right there. No, actually. I was noting the sudden change in rate of descent, as well as the quick shift of our bodies from horizontal to vertical. It must have taken 10-15 seconds before I thought to look over my shoulder at the chute. I did, and all was well.
From that moment on, it was simply a slow float to the ground. It was so peaceful that Bill and I carried on a conversation in normal voice tones as we practiced techniques for steering and landing. The harness that strapped me to him became uncomfortable after a while and solely because of that I was ready to get to the ground. That was the only unpleasant aspect of the whole experience.

My wife dutifully greeted me at the hangar, as she has done with all three of her immediate family members now. She insists she has no intention or desire to join the club.

I’m really glad I did it, and I’m also glad it was spur-of-the-moment. I suspect if I had anticipated it for days or weeks, I might not have had so much peace of mind. And I have to admit in the plane at about 8000 feet, I spent some quality time talking to Jesus.
On the way to the airstrip, I told my wife, "If I slam into the ground, you have my blessing to marry for money next time; but you have to wait an appropriate interval." She asked how long that would be. I said she wouldn't be allowed to become emotionally involved with anyone until after my birthday in 2012. That's seemed reasonable to her. I also said, "If that happens, know my last thought was how much I love you." I didn't go splat, thankfully. So, I have plenty of time to get right with the Lord and stay right with my bride.

Now, my fall from the sky is another great memory. And the photos are pretty cool, too.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: