by James - email@example.com
I always thought it was the weather, days of the week, months of the year, the hands on the clock, moods or attitudes that changed, never me.
I am still a newbie to skydiving having just started in 1998, it seems like light years ago, but really it was just yesterday in the grand scheme of things. I can't change that.
500 Jumps, wow! I never thought I would ever experience the feeling of that accomplishment, but it will be upon me soon. It's not a great amount of jumps to many skydivers, but to me it is a milestone I look forward too, just as I looked forward to my 100th jump, my 200th jump and the next one to come.
My 100th jump was marked with a pieing by my former jump master, and now friend, Doris who still jumps, but lives the life of skydiving with her job, a job that many of us could envy. Envy isn't so bad, as long as a healthy dose of being happy for those you envy goes along with it. My 200th jump was to be a happy occasion, and I guess it was. It was a sad day though. I was taking my "d" exam right after the jump when cameraman and campfire friend brad Slager left us. I can't change that, I wish I could though.
Now the numbers in my log book keep changing as I add another and another jump to the growing total, but after my 200th jump, the time slot in my log book hasn't changed, in my log book at least, time has stood still.
I talk online via email to many jumpers, some stateside, some not. Erik Johnson is one such jumper. He changed his life after making a living jumping for many years. Not many would envy his choice of change, but I do, he's one of the real life heroes in my book. I won't change that.
There are so many friends that we make skydiving at one DZ or another during boogies and travel it becomes difficult to place the names with places and that promise to stay in touch but don't, but we remember the good times and the good vibes. I wonder at times if it is just me that has this problem? Then I think of the 100~300 ways people joined together to do. No way can they remember all the names that were there, and I feel a little better knowing this, though that changes nothing and probably won't as long as skydiving exists.
I received an email from a friend who lives in England the other day. He was excited about reaching his 500th jump. His excitement was obvious by the ellipses he used to accent this jump number. I remember when I was leaving him in my dust in jump numbers, I asked myself, "it wasn't that long ago was it?". He also mentioned another thing that put a smile on my face reading his email. He had reached the point in his logbook where I had "bounce proofed" him. While I was in England and at a DZ with him I signed his log book. Not for the jump we did, we didn't get to jump at all that day. I remember the day though, it was the 4th of July. It was a page I grabbed near the back of his log book and signed it along with the inscription; "you have been bounce proofed, don't make a liar out of me." July 4th is around the corner again, I like to think I have kept my friend alive for the past 3 years. It's not likely I will change that thought, good luck things, you know?
David Cole, now a jump master and TM at skydive America in Palm Beach, Florida, did the same for me when I had less than 100 jumps and I asked him to sign my log book for a jump we had just done. I thought then, that it was a cool thing to do. Now when I jump with "newbies" I always grab the last page in their log books and sign the same thing. They always smile after reading that inscription and thank me. That is one thing I will never change.
So, now my 500th jump is coming up and I didn't know what I would do to celebrate this occasion, but I do now. Brad, I want you to know that on jump number 501 the time will change in the slot provided in my log book. I celebrate your life by giving you the time I had during jump 200 to 500.
My life hasn't changed much over the time I have been skydiving except losing friends happens more often than I would like. I wish I could bounce- proof all skydivers, but that is something I can't do alone, so I need your help, and that will never change. Blue skies!
For more stories see pages