The Great Shoe Jump
Everyone loses something now and again: a sock, an earring, a dog, a heart. Sometimes, these things are found easily: a dollar in the laundry, that favorite pen, a homeless beagle. I used to blame it on poltergeists and a mischievous husband. As age rolls in, I hesitate to blame anything else.
But now the blame can be laid on the winds ... at 10,000 feet:
An early leap from a plane ripped my goggles away, taking in tandem my glasses. Falling at terminal velocity, they were buried quite snugly in the beans somewhere.
On my first flight in a DC-3, my mind anticipated seeing the helmet drop out the door as I placed it between my legs to prepare my goggles. Sure as shootin', there it went, rolling out to meet my glasses ... somewhere.
On a group dive, gripping securely to each other’s hands, we suddenly pulled apart. Bidding adieu to my new Isotoner glove, I floated under canopy following it in circles until it disappeared in the beans ... somewhere.
Losing things in the air is quite the norm for skydivers. An altimeter, a freebag, even a parachute are treasures often retrieved from the bean fairies by spring plowing. Somewhere in the beans, there are also the cutaway and reserve handles that remind us of the ever-present real danger.
The great shoe jump, I noted in my logbook, proved quite the feat ... for the shoe. A daredevil friend joined me for a horny gorilla. We entwined our legs together upside down and fell in an ever-increasing twirl. Centrifugal force lured my shoe away, and I thought it was off to visit the beans. But when I turned to check on my partner, I caught a glimpse of him waving hello with my shoe. Caught between his legs, the shoe never had a chance to dance in the beans.
Later, I donated the shoes for use on the Misty Blues Skydiving Team mannequin in the Parachute Museum at the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center in Dayton, Ohio.
Ann Armstrong-Ingoldsby | D-18967 Fairborn, Ohio
P.S. Where are my sunglasses?