I was sitting in the coffee shop the other day eating a 12” submarine sandwich when Jimmy, an old friend from my California days walked in. After many hugs and exclamations of joy at seeing one another after so many years, I invited him to sit and have lunch with me. It seems he was in town for a big parasailing event. Now, our small town had never been much of a place for parasailing, but some young, foolish men had discovered that it could be done on some high bluffs over the river. Now they were trying to make our little town the “Parasailing Capitol of the South.” Can you imagine! All the farmers were against it because it kept scaring the cows and they were running off their weight trying to get away from those big colorful predators flying around up in the air.
It turned out that Jimmy now sells parasails and all the vast array of paraphernalia that goes with it. He offered to take me up for a ride in a tandem/teaching parasail. Well, my daddy didn’t raise no idiot so I kindly thanked him for his offer and told him I would be glad to come and watch him go flying through the air. Well, then he called me a chicken and started dancing around the coffee shop making chicken sounds – “buk, buk buk, buk buk buk, till he finally made me mad and so I told him to come on, if he was waiting on me he was backing up! Well, off we traipsed to the bluffs. On the outside I was cool, calm, and collected, but on the inside I was quaking in my sandals, thinking of all the horrible things that could happen way up there in the air. What if we get caught in a whirlpool of wind and dash onto the ground? What if the parasail rips and we plummet into the river or worse yet, into that copse of thorny trees by the river?? Yikes! You would think that by my age I would have learned that pride cometh before the fall – this time I was hoping that it would not be a literal translation.
So after he strapped and gusseted me into this seemingly flimsy contraption with these tiny thin little metal bars, Jimmy commands me to start running toward the edge of the bluff. I start off at a hesitant little trot and he is yelling, “Faster, faster!” so off I go running and praying and feeling like my heart is going to literally explode in my chest. We get to the end and all of a sudden I am running in thin air. Here I am, dangling, not quite vertical, or horizontal holding on to this bar with a grip that is about to bust my knuckles. And then I open my eyes – and after the initial bout of nausea, I begin to really get the hang of this parasailing – I find myself waving to people on the ground that I know – they look like little miniature toy people down there. I laugh at the cows running until I see my Uncle Jake shaking his fist at us. We had a marvelous time just soaring around in the thermals; I could have stayed up there all day. Then, just as we were landing, I saw my dad standing over at the side shaking his head. I know this was just one more incident in a line of many others that have convinced him that he might have, after all, raised an idiot.
I have never actually parasailed, but my dad has wondered many times at other crazy things his middle daughter has done! You can see a picture of my dad on my blog: crockchronicles.blogspot.com