Saturday, May 24, 2008


One chilly fall morning in 1992 I completed my first successful canopy relative work 4-stack. This is where you fly to another parachutist, slip your feet into their lines from the canopy, pull yourself down and wait for someone else to hook up with yours. Four of us would be stacked together flying in formation.

My drop zone that was usually in Sparta, Illinois was visiting Sullivan, Missouri. This is before Quantum Leap set up their operation there.

As I was landing I could see my friend Gary arriving with a very pretty girl. For the next few months we would make secret eye contact and occasionally even have a conversation. I was in my mid 30s and she was in her early 20s. My old girl friend Joanie would later call me a cradle robber.

Every December we had a chili party in the hanger. Kim came up to me from the dance floor and we were together from that point on.

To this day, with the exception of our kids, the only thing we ever had in common was skydiving. She never shared my interests in art, music, science or literature. She was young and pretty. What can I say? Men are shallow.

I cancelled a trip to New Orleans with Sharon to go to Jazz Fest. I couldn’t really afford it. Another friend invited me to go with him to Tennessee to jump. Unfortunately I accepted. A friend of Kim’s had convinced her I had turned down Jazz Fest because I couldn’t bear to be away from her. This was the first in a long series of things I did that disappointed Kim.

We were visiting friends at another drop zone. I let Kim use my rig. She misread the wind and did a down wind landing across the runway. She came in so fast I was afraid she had gotten hurt. We ran up to her and for some reason she was angry with me. As she was scolding me our friend Tammy noticed a hole in my rig that would eventually cost $400.00 to repair. She could tell I was trying not to notice. She looked me in the eye and whispered, “You’re a saint.”

Kim got pregnant and it was the start of 12 years of the strangest adventure I’ve ever been on.

I met her folks and they were shocked by my age. Her mother said she didn’t think she’d feel comfortable calling me son.

My kids Chloe and Dylan made it all totally worthwhile.

Pictures are from the 1993 World Freefall Convention in Quincy, Illinois. Kim says otherwise but I’m convinced Dylan was conceived here. The math works out perfectly. Kim is hanging from an upside down Steerman biplane. My mother asked if we were just totally reckless people when she saw this. I think you can see the earth’s curvature in the pic of us together.

No comments: