Wednesday, September 16, 2009

An abundance of fives

This picture, taken last Sunday, shows Skratch (in white), Jennifer (vamping), and Dougla (yes, that name is complete). They all came down from Jennifer's 55th jump. In her pocket is her father's picture, which she carries with her on every jump. When she was sixteen, he had 445 skydives, and they planned to make a jump together when she was old enough. He was only 43 when he died of cancer. Here's a quote from her story (published in the Canadian parachuting magazine) about why she decided to skydive back in April:
When I left for the airport that day - I put a picture of my dad in my  pocket.  We were going to jump together. . . some way or another.  I was going to make good on our promise to skydive together.  Gail, Amy and I arrived promptly at 2:30pm in the afternoon.  We checked in. You could feel the excitement, adrenaline and freedom in the air.  It was contagious.  My excitement was building... I heard our names over the intercom calling us to the benches for our training with our instructor, Spotty.  It was now or never.
She fell in love with skydiving and kept on going. Her 55th jump this past Sunday, which she preserved with a video taken by Dougla and accompanied by Skratch, is now part of her experience together with her dad. His last 55 jumps have been in her pocket, but she counts them as jumps they made together. It would coincidentally also have been her father's 500th.

Here they are packing up for the jump, after having done a practice one (not to mention needing to get to the magic number of 55). She is still learning how to pack, and Skratch is making sure she's learning all the cool techniques. Jennifer has a son who is almost 14 and has also got the bug. When he learned about wind tunnels, his eyes lit up. I think he'll be doing a tandem jump once he's old enough.

One thing I've learned about my husband: he thrives on teaching skydiving to new jumpers. I've seen it ever since I've known him, and although my days as an instructor are over, his will never stop as long as he's around young jumpers. It makes my heart glad. On Sunday, I made three jumps with my friends, playing in the sky, while he and Jennifer logged this very special jump.


  1. How touching. And I admire Jennifer's determination to share her jumps with her father. What a lovely way to actually make that happen. Thank you for sharing.

  2. It's wonderful that even though she lost her father, she still shares this love of sky diving with him.

  3. What a touching story. I think my dad was as scared of heights as I was, so we never would have made such a pact. :-}

  4. DJan, I really enjoyed the photos and the story behind them. Reminds me of the story of how I got into jumping...

    A man I had just started to date was killed in a mid-air plane collision over Loveland, Colorado, back in 1981. I had told him I was planning on taking the first jump course (from him -- he was an instructor as well as a pilot) as soon as I had enough money. Three weeks after he was tragically killed, I borrowed the money and took the bus 50 miles south from Cheyenne to the Loveland drop zone, the same one where the accident happened. I made my first static line jump.

    I ended up staying active in the sport for 12 years, becoming an instructor, and marrying the love of my life, another skydiver and instructor, Bob Russell.

    I will always love Steve Johnston for introducing me to the sport, and for being with me in spirit on my first jump.

  5. What a wonderful thing to have such passion for something. How great of your husband to give his time and expertise to others. Packing the chute has to be the most important part of the jump.

  6. That's a unique way of bonding between a father and a daughter. You're husband is very kind enough to share what he knew about the things he excel with and that is a blessing, DJ.


  7. Is it always as scary as the first time I wonder? I'll just live vicariously through you and your friends.

  8. d jump must be fun!

    ps you're invited to comment on my post too =)

  9. WOW!How touching!I hope jennifer and her son do jumps together some day.I had no idea your hubby too was into this sport.GREAT.

    D-jan,Thanks for your kind comments,it's much appreciated.Regards our climate....yes,winters are very cold-in Delhi the temp can drop to 1 degree,and in the northern most part there's a place called Ladhak where the temperature can drop to -50 in some parts.It's also the most beautiful place in India..remote and unspoilt.

    Come see India,I'd be happy to show you around.

  10. A wonderful posting - not only for the celebration of skydiving and parental legacies, but the recognition of Skratch's gift of teaching. He once told me that most teachers are so busy being a teacher they forget about the student. In my experience, he has never forgotten his students. He has the ability to join the student wherever (s)he is and offer support or information and just be glad to have had the opportunity to do so. Glad to know he continues "lending his courage" to the young jumpers.

  11. DJan,
    That is a wonderful story of love between father and daughter. You have met some truly great people who share your passion for skydiving. Thank you for sharing them with us. The photos are great.

  12. That's a very nice story DJan. You have a rich friend base in the sky-diving pals, I can see that.
    Blessings, Star


I really appreciate your comments! If you see a word verification box here, just ignore it. I don't use the darn thing and Blogger is trying to get us to use it, I guess. Ignore it and your comment will still appear.