Parachutes, Runny Noses & Dead Russians

I’m feeling better today, not sure what all the hub-bub was… I suppose it could be the meds messing with me. Every couple of weeks, I wake up one morning feeling cruddy, coughing, runny nose, fever, headache and then it kind of mellows out and  the next day when I wake up – I feel OK, not great but better…. it’s very odd…. Part of what makes me better – are the people around me, the support they give me and their willingness to do a bit more when I am forced to do a bit less… Without that support I never would have been able to come this far, no doubt. Let me tell you a little story about support, it’s one I overheard while flying Fighter Jets at Top Gun School a few years back…

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb – Charles Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”

“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.

“I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.

…pretty cool, now my question to you is, “Who is packing your chute?” We all have someone who provides what we need to make it through the day easier than if they weren’t there. A parachute of any type, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual…. Sometimes in the daily challenges life gives us, we miss what is really important. We fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice. Take a minute every once in a while to recognize the person or people who pack your parachutes.

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Because – believe me, you don’t want to be in a critical situation and have your chute fail!

Like the time I was fightin’ alongside Trotsky & Lenin during the russian…  …but that’s another story.

Have a Great Day.

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