Soaring Memory


The newspaper had an article today that brought back memories from 20 years ago.  Bear with me while I flashback to a birthday gift story.

Sometimes we treat our own birthday celebrations like we are God’s gift to this lucky world.  I knew a lady who celebrated the entire month of her birth every year…the whole month.  She expected her friends and family to do “special surprises” for her during the entire month, because after all, it was HER birth month.  She probably still does it, but thankfully she’s not on my list of friends anymore.

Ok, I got her out of my mind and we’ll move on.

It was 1992 and the birthday was #50.  I know, it’s a milestone for most of us and my friends tell me I had a wonderful time.  I know that particular day ended up with me singing Karaoke in the bar of the Westin Bonaventure in downtown L.A.  My first and last Karaoke experience; but I digress.

I received a special gift from a special friend, a skydiving package.  I must have let it slip that I’d love to jump out of an airplane someday.  I don’t remember saying that, but I was suddenly excited about doing it.

Perris Valley Airport is and was the big sky-diving capital of Southern California.  The airfield is a privately owned facility in Riverside County and tucked away from the crowded L.A. and Orange County communities.  It was either that choice, or a smaller skydiving facility in Hemet, CA.  I chose Hemet.

On April 22, 1992 a plane crashed taking off at Perris Valley and 14 skydivers and 2 pilots were killed.  Since the year 2000 another 15 skydivers have died at Perris Valley and yesterday still another skydiver was killed there.

I did my Hemet jump and loved every minute.  I had a video guy jump with me and film the whole thing, and it’s exciting every time I watch it. However, I will never do it again.  The odds seem out of kilter.

The fellow who died yesterday was doing tricks, like many of the “pros” who dive at Perris Valley.  This particular guy was a real “pro” who taught Navy Seals proficiency in skydiving.

If you haven’t jumped out of an airplane at 12,000 feet, tumbled in a summersault, straightened out your legs and arms and become a bird for about two minutes, then pull the ripcord and feel the sky jerk you back up from the oncoming earth, I recommend it….once.

About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
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