The year is 1976, a good year to jump out of an airplane. I am twenty, Tim and Al are a bit older and seasoned, Al being a Vietnam Vet, tough but a good guy, and Tim a bit of a prankster. We load into Tim’s 1974 cobalt blue Cutlass Supreme and head out to Garretsville, Ohio to the parachuting club. It is morning in Amish country and black buggies pulled by brown mares share the roads with us.
Row upon row of corn blocks our view and when we round the corner and discover the airfield, all the joking stops. With a sudden intake of breath, three men as one, we gaze in terror upon the plane. It is the oldest most dilapidated Cesna I have ever seen. The car is stopped, we are all thinking of turning around when Al barks out “At least we don’t have to risk landing in it”. We all laugh and head in.
It is funny how joking stops when a tall blonde is describing how to open your emergency parachute in case your primary chute is a tangled mass of spaghetti.
Al asks, what happens if our primary chute tangles, and she replies “Open your secondary as I have been showing you”, then Tim asks.. “But what if our secondary parachute is tangled, what do we do?”
She stops for a second, looks at us one by one and says “Then cross your legs like this”, overlapping her legs with her toes pointing down. “Why” we ask together puzzled?
“So we can screw you out of the ground”