Hit The Ground RunningMy fingers slipped as I tried to make sure that all my fasteners were on correctly. I checked my helmet, my parachute, my brass buttons and my boots. On the way up, I prayed to God that nothing would happen. I prayed that all of us would survive and see our families again. I had only married John about five years this May and had our first son, Sam. I hoped I’d see them again. I tried to remember everything we learned in basic training. The lessons included how long to wait before opening my parachute, what to do if you are hit by an air draft, and the importance of looking out for your group. All of a sudden I felt a blast from my side of the plane. I flew forward, jamming the seatbelt into my stomach. The air was cloudy making it incredibly hard to see anything. From the dark smoke, I heard a voice yelling “JUMP… NOW!!!” I unfastened my belt and stepped to the opened plane door. This was going to be my first time and the whole reason I signed up for this. I stepped out and plummeted into the dark. I prayed again for safety. I was terrified. The air was horribly cold and I hoped that what happened up on the plane would not happen to me. Inside my head, I screamed over and over that I was going to die. I saw my life flashing by my eyes: my mother and I baking cookies for a party when I was ten, the day I received confirmation, the birth of my son, and my marriage to John. Was it really all worth living to die suddenly at the age of 25? Was I going to die of a crash landing? Just as the instructors had told me, I pulled the string, deploying my parachute. The wind stopped whipping passed my face the gut feeling in my stomach died down. I began to enjoy the view a little. I could see a wide field underneath me and little tiny houses and bikes. It was the little dollhouse of earth. I felt as though I was floating on the wings of God and that nothing horrible would happen to me. The ground came closer and closer, as everything became bigger and bigger.
As I landed my husband, John, came running up and said, “Oh, honey. Everything is going to be okay. There was a nasty wind up there, but it died down. I know you were so scared.”
I replied saying, “That was the best experience I’ve ever had. Thank you, sweetie for such an enjoyable anniversary present.”
[TABLE OF CONTENTS, LHS CLASS OF 2009 EDITION]
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