Stand-up! Hook-up! Check Your Equipment! Winds, Zero! Green Light!
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Stand-up! Hook-up! Check Your Equipment! Winds, Zero! Green Light!

Stand-up! Hook-up! Check Your Equipment! Winds, Zero! Green Light!

Aug 22 , 2022

The start of my day at Rapides des Joachims. I hoped to make Petawawa, where, in a previous life, adventure consisted mostly of jumping out of airplanes and helicopters at night, usually dressed as a bush. Sometimes a snowbank, but mostly as a bush.

Getting closer, I recognize the island group that fronts Chalk River. Then the beaches that border the Garrison Petawawa on the river itself and finally, the few bits of the base that can be made out from the river.

Right on cue, a C-130 Hercules, the four-engine turboprop workhorse for armed services the world over, drones overhead, cruises over the airfield that also serves dropzone,and a stick of paratroopers tumble out. Unconsciously, I count to four and look up, expecting to see my own chute. Blue sky and sun are my only canopies today.

Watching the same spectacle, I glide unnoticed up to a couple on a jetski. We are kindred spirits. Anne-Marie, curious about everything, and Peter, ready, willing, and able to tackle anything.

They leave for their cottage on the Quebec shore and I head for the marina at the Garrison.

Spending the night at the marina, I cannot help but think of the 40+ years that have passed since I was last here. What of Pudge, and the Worm? Of Lt.
Colonel Beno? Jan Arp and Len Lange Don Sanderson? Have the years been kind or cruel? Have you been chasing life or has it been chasing you? Naively, I thought the answers would be here, waiting for me, announcing themselves with some sort of fanfare when I arrived. I was wrong. Again.

I am surrounded by soldiers and airman. They are laughing, and kidding   each other the way only comrades do. I watch, unnoticed, but knowing that they are creating 40 year bonds that cannot be broken. And just like that, in an instant, I am home.