NOTE: The time and reaction to a virus that had lasted more than a year produces those memories from the recent past, which help us find hope in an approaching future. These may help us in eluding a sense of hopelessness as we recall the laugher that was heard via the future joy that will come. (And what better way to anticipate a recovered presence by eluding the deadly presence of a pandemic present!)

“Pull the cord! Pull the cord!” The voice was urgent but with no sign of panic or fear.

He barely heard the pleading words as the novice faced several alarming distractions: the sound of wind was deafening as he plummeted at an incredible speed towards an earth that seem to be growing closer – quickly – and a rare beauty that could be experienced only from this height.

As you may have guessed, I was making my initial jump with a parachute and instructor strapped to my back called a “tandem dive.”

You’re probably wondering how I got myself into such a predicament.

It actually happened more than 35 years earlier when I was asked to act as publicity chairman for an Air Show in North Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The airfield was much shorter than the main commercial airport in neighboring Myrtle Beach but the charity featured various stunt plane events with smaller aircraft and bi-planes.

While in the planning stages for this particular set of shows, the company sought a volunteer to ride on the top wing of a bi-plane, strapped in, while the pilot performed some aerial maneuvers.

Curious and a little bit adventuresome – created by naive youthfulness – I hesitantly raised my hand and volunteered for the ride of a lifetime. Bravery is quite evident when the challenge is not at hand. And with that attitude I drove home and informed the family of what I had done, expecting admiration and kudos for my willingness to be part of the air show.

For more on this story please pick up Thursday's Tribune or purchase an e-edition.

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