Sunday, January 02, 2011

Adventures and Misadventures

There was a time when John wanted to learn how to fly hang gliders. There was no way to stop him. I knew that the more I tried to stop him, the more he would insist on doing it. So I kept quiet, and prayed. Then one morning, he came back early - meaning he did not go hang gliding even though he left for that purpose.

He told me that he was too early for hang gliding and when he arrived at his instructor's place, the guy was still cleaning his kite. The guy was in shorts, and all his scars were visible. He told John about the different scars on his legs and body and what caused them - all from hang gliding accidents. John decided that he did not want to learn hang gliding anymore. :)

Another time, John wanted to go sky jumping. (What’s with this man?) He took all of us, our three daughters and myself, to Tanauan, Batangas, where his friend’s son was teaching it. He already knew I would not do it, but he was able to convince at least two daughters to try it with him.

I’m timid when it comes to adventures, but I made great effort, especially when my children were very young, not to show or transfer my fears, or my lack of courage, to them. I did not want them to be fainthearted like me. I wanted them to have as much fun as their dad was. Although scared, I said yes to the scariest rollercoaster rides, was John’s first passenger on an ultralight, went up to the sky in a glider (not hang, but a real one), was first to hop on cable cars, went scuba diving, spelunking, approached and touched all sorts of strange animals – whatever adventures we faced. I just kept quiet and prayed for our safety, and said my silent “thank you’s” when my feet touched the ground again.

That morning, my children were older and I felt I did not have to show any more false bravado. John greets his pilot-friend, Mannie Baradas, who in turn introduces us to his son who teaches sky jumping. But this young man was in a wheelchair! “My God,” I was screaming silently in my head. He must have seen my reaction to the sight of him, and so he reassured me that he was not teaching today. He had a “little” accident while skydiving, he said, so his other instructor, would take over giving lessons that day. “Oh, thank God,” I said again in my head, “maybe there’s somebody else who has better judgment, or better timing, or whatever it is that you need to avoid breaking your bones while sky-jumping.”

Mannie’s son called the other instructor to come out, and he was in crutches!!! At that point, even John did not think it was a good idea to try sky jumping. I did not have to make excuses for not signing up for lessons, John and the girls took care of that. I think that day we decided to go sailing in nearby Talisay, but when we think of adventures and misadventures, we still talk about our close encounter with sky jumping that day.


Chet said...

I love this, it made me laugh!

Keep writing!

Tonet said...

Harvey, I can't stop reading your blog!! You write very well, and I need to get up at 4am to go to Singapore, and you're driving me crazy! I'm now on my fifth post... .

Tonet Rivera