Riding the Wind
John looked over at his better half of more than fifty years, relishing in the joy of the moment. Ellie had never looked more beautiful and he had never felt as young. The instructor was checking harnesses and saying some gibber jabber on his walkie talkie, but all John could hear was the healthy beat of his heart as his eyes swept across God’s glorious creation. The canyon was deep, colored with the hues of the sunset. Only the Lord himself could have orchestrated such a vision.
Suddenly, the words of disapproval from Paul, their youngest, echoed in his ears. Truly, his children would be horrified if they could see their parents teetering on the edge of a precipice just waiting to jump and glide through the air like a couple of majestic eagles. His granddaughter, Kari, would say something like, “Rock on, Papa!”, while his sons and their well meaning wives would turn white and have visions of straight jackets and retirement villages. Ha! Never! After thirty years of teaching high school students the difference between adjectives and adverbs, he and Ellie were finally taking their time. Nevertheless, the last conversation he had with Paul and Johnny replayed in his mind.
“Dad….” Paul was shaking his head while looking at the book of brochures both he and Ellie had put together in order to better explain their trip to the loved ones they so cherished. “What are you guys doing?” He looked at his older brother for help.
Johnny’s expression was more about concern than frustration. “What’s this about? Are you dying? Is mom sick?”
John couldn’t help but laugh. “We’re all dying, Son.”
“That’s not funny, Dad.”
“But it’s true. Your mother and I don’t need an excuse to take a trip.”
Paul rolled his eyes. “But this is no regular trip. You guys are hiking, scuba diving….”
Johnny flipped through the notebook. “Paragliding?”
John ran his fingers through his gray hair. “Boys, your mother and I have done things by the rules; loved God, one another, and our family. We’ve been responsible, tax paying citizens. Bills have been paid and college educations have been funded.”
Paul got off the couch and looked out the front window of the thirty year old house. “It’s not about the money, Dad.” He turned to look at his father and John knew that he had unintentionally hurt his youngest. Paul was not a rich man, but he had always made it crystal clear he wasn’t waiting on, nor did he expect an inheritance. “You know that, right?”
“I do, Son. But it is about time and opportunity. Your mother and I are set for whatever happens in our later years, but neither of us wants to stay home and allow routine to set in. We have good health and one another. We want to celebrate.”
His older son looked at him with a smile and teary eyes. “By paragliding?”
Ellie’s gentle voice brought him back to the present. “Ready, Love?”
His face lit up like a Christmas tree as he gave her the thumbs up sign.
He could hear her laughing all the way down.
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