In the corner of my cupboard, underneath a pile of clothes I no longer fit in, is a t-shirt from my dad. There is a photo image of an “Old Fart” (him) parachuting. He’s wearing a helmet of sorts. His face is squeeze up almost beyond recognition. His arms are extended outwards. He’s in the middle of a free fall. There is this wonderful goofy expression on his face.
The story behind this t-shirt is the following…
On the occasion of my father’s 70th birthday, he spontaneously decided to gift himself a trip to Australia. A friend of his had sailed his boat from Canada to Chile, and then over to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. My father, apparently on a whim, decided to visit his friend and spend some time with him on his boat.
He took a bus journey through the outback of Australia: Sydney to a harbour where his chum’s boat was anchoured in the Great Barrier Reef. While making the journey, he noticed a sign in some town offering tandem parachuting adventures. Pay up front. Climb onto the plane. Make a jump.
Years before, he’d mentioned he had only two regrets; not having parachuted and not having gone paragliding. So, during that bus stop in the middle of Australia, he thought, “What the heck.” He walked up to the airfield and asked to be on their next jump.
He went up and parachuted, but he was so overwhelmed by the experience, his mind blanked. Therefore, he went up a second time. Just so he could remember the experience. It was on the second jump, the photo was taken.
He got the t-shirts printed up for his family as a way of announcing the event. We had no idea. I’m not sure any one of us would have given his our blessing if he had decided to ask us if we thought parachuting for the first time at 70 years old was a good thing.
Now, many years later, I toast you, Dave, for your craziness. Thank heavens you took the jump. Thank heavens you showed us that life is meant to take risks.