Often on Sunday’s my father would announce after breakfast that we were going for a drive. Now the Sunday Drive as I remember it, never had a destination, it was all shoot from the hip, let’s try this out, we have never been there before, and we would head out.
Most of his life, Tony carried with him a dream, a whim, a wishful longing to do one thing. It was to skydive once in his life, then one day after sitting thru the Hollywood feature of The Bucket List for the third time, Tony made up his mind.
He was going to do it.
He was going to skydive and it would be soon.
Shortly thereafter, he found himself signing up at the skydiving school at the local municipal airport. Each day at the appointed time, he would show up and intently listen to the in and outs of skydiving. The what to do, and the ugly, what NOT to do of this perilous sport.
Tony did not waiver, his fear subsided and a new excitement entered his life. It all seemed so simple, what could possibly go wrong?
The instructor would lay it all out in uncertain terms. “You go to the door. Brace yourself, when I say go, you go. Yell Geronimo, count to three, and pull the rip chord. Look up and you will see your chute billowing up above you.”
Then one student inquired, “What if that doesn’t happen? I mean …. Uh …. What if the chute does not deploy?” The instructor said, “That is a splendid question!”
All the students in the class (about four of them as I recall) hung anxiously on his next statement.
Clearing his voice he said: “If that chute does not open, which in rare cases does happen, cut away from it, and pull the emergency ripcord handle on the second chute. Look up, you will see the second chute deploy. At that time you effortlessly and serenely glide to the ground where a truck will meet you and haul you back here to the airport.”
On the day of the much anticipated event, Tony was prepared and anxious, geared up and ready to roll. They loaded up, took off and quickly reached the required altitude and found themselves over the drop zone. The rich color of the Florida landscape overwhelmed Tony as he gazed out the window and marveled at its beauty. The instructor yelled out “Positions!”
He moved to the door. He braced himself.
The instructor screamed above the wind and motor noise …. Jump!
Geronimo! … 1-2-3 … Tony pulls the ripcord.
Looking up, he see’s nothing, no chute. Hurtling towards the earth at break neck speed he notices another person coming up thru the clouds also at a high rate of speed. Tony yells out to him … “Hey buddy, do you know anything about rip chords?” and the other guy yells back, “No … Do you know how to properly inflate a used truck tire?”
Tony realizing that time is almost up, cuts away and pulls the Emergency rip chord and looks up for chute #2 … Nothing.
Looking down at the earth rushing up to meet him at a high rate of speed he mutters under his breath to himself, “I’ll bet that damn truck isn’t going to be there either.”