Celebrating Chris' birthday

Chris and David attempt...

Tandem Skydiving in Missouri

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by things you didn't do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore! Dream! Discover!"....Mark Twain

For her 29th birthday (ok, add 11 years to what she tells you) Chris asked that we both go sky-diving.

Here we are waiting to be called at the 7th annual Hillbilly Jamboree in Mt Vernon, Missouri.

Chris' life, along with her body, would soon be in the hand's of Tandem Master Terry Wendt.

She looks real upset by the proposition, doesn't she?

Tandem Master Jim Phillips has made over 500 tandem jump's. All of them very successfully, I might add.

Behind that smile, Jim is wondering why, once again, he got the geek and Terry gets the babe.

I am just hoping he isn't pissed about it.

"And once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you long to return..." - Leonardo Da Vinci

And so begins our journey. Typically, the Mount Vernon DZ has a Cessna that can only climb to 10M feet. But twice a year, they sometimes bring in the "big" plane that can climb to 14,000 feet and carry up to 30 freefall enthusiast's. Tandem's go in first, and out last. The ride up takes about 15 minutes.

Chris Only Skydiving Music Video
14.9 MB WMV file/ Right Click and "Save as" to your computer
Re-done, better quality than original but bigger

Chris and David Skydiving Music Video
16.5 MB WMV file/this is the newest video
added 8/23/04

From below, my sister had waited about 15 minutes, when all of a sudden a wave of parachutes appeared from the clouds.

A bystander advised her she would have to wait a few moments before we would appear.

In the middle left of the photo is a dark spot, Terry and Chris, and behind and higher is Jim and David.

An absolutely peaceful and beautiful 6 minute ride after the most exhilarating 45 second wild ride straight down you'll ever experience. It's the facest you can possibly travel without a motor.

Chris and Terry land standing up, while Terry's son chases to insure safety. David and Jim preparing for touchdown.

Tandem rides are extremely safe, as each tandem guide has successfully completed extensive training, and must have a minimum of 500 solo jump's before they can even apply. Jim and Terry were very easy going and friendly, but both were very serious about safety and what they were doing.

These images speak for themselves. She loved her 40th birthday present (whoops, 29 and holding), and we both had a fantastic time!! What more can a person ask for?

- Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. -

If you would like to skydive, there is no safer way than to take a tandem skydive. And if you are only going to do it once, or are considering it as a hobby, a tandem ride is the best introduction to the sport. If you live in southwest Missouri, I recommend Skydive Rolla in Rolla, Missouri. The staff here is 100% into sharing the joy of their sport, and making your ride the most memorable 2 miles you'll ever take. They can be reached at (573) 299-4322. Call for current pricing and gift certificates are available.

Chris and David

And thanks to my sister and niece for photo's and video of our landing

Exhilarated Calmness

I watched him strap on his harness and helmet, climb into the cockpit and minutes later, a black dot falls off the wing two thousand feet above our field. At almost the same instant, a white streak behind him flowered out into the delicate wavering muslin of a parachute - a few gossamer yards grasping onto air and suspending below them, with invisible threads, a human life, and man who by stitches, cloth and cord, had made himself a god of the sky for those immortal moments.

A day or two later, when I decided that I too must pass through the experience of a parachute jump, life rose to a higher level, to a sort of exhilarated calmness. The thought of crawling out onto the struts and wires hundreds of feet above the earth, and then giving up even that tenuous hold of safety and of substance, left me a feeling of anticipation mixed with the dread, of confidence restrained by caution, of courage salted through with fear. How tightly should one hold onto life? How loosely give it rein? What gain was there for such a risk? I would have to pay in money for hurling my body into space. There would be no crowd to watch and applaud my landing. Nor was there any scientific objective to be gained. No, there was deeper reason for wanting to jump, a desire I could not explain. It was that quality that led me to aviation in the first place - it was a love of the air and sky and flying, the lure of adventure, the appreciation of beauty. It lay beyond the descriptive words of man - where immortality is touched through danger, where life meets death on equal plane, where man is more than man, and existence both supreme and valueless at the same instant.

-- Charles A. Lindberg

"Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth of sun-split clouds-

and done a hundred things you have not dreamed of-

wheeled and soared and swung high in the sunlit silence.

Hov'ring there, I've chased the shouting wind along,

and flung my eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace,

where never lark, or even eagle flew.

And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod the high untresspassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand,

and touched the face of God

-Robert Vaughn

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face...You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
 Eleanor Roosevelt  1884-1962, Social Activist and Former First Lady