Some pictures from a cold but fun afternoon wakeboarding the canals of Discovery Bay around Thanksgiving. Tommy D was so cold from the freezing water he literally turned blue! He couldn't get enough though, and went for it twice!! We all had such a good time.
I did a couple of coach jumps with Tom about a month ago.
At about 5,000 feet up he turned to me and asked what I should be doing then. "Turn 180 and track away from you," I replied with a exasperated look. That was jump 31 for me, I knew what I was doing.
7,000 feet ... 'relax' hand signal.
At 9,000 feet, I looked around to see if I could spot anyone's chest strap routed incorrectly. "Don't be afraid of pointing out to someone if their chest strap looks weird," he'd said on the ground. "Some girls are going to think you're checking them out but if there is something wrong, you'll end up saving their life." Sound words of wisdom, that I'd stowed away for later.
10,000 feet ... yet another 'relax' hand signal.
11,000 feet he signaled for me to put on my helmet and goggles.
12,000 feet, I watched him check his 3 rings, 3 harnesses and 3 handle. There was a precise, methodical, and serene way in which he ran thorough his routine. Felling inspired, I fumbled around and touched my 3 handles. "Yup, everything still there".
At 13,000 feet and change, he motioned me to slide open the door. I looked around, for aircraft and all was clear. "There are 6 groups getting off so we should climb out right on top of the maintenance hangar", he'd advised while we were climbing in. I looked down and ... "ummmm which one is the maintainence hangar, is it the big one or the little one?", I wondered. In my infinite wisdom I had decided to that we'd climb out over the midpoint of the two. Luckily he was there to make sure we did no such thing.
14,000 He climbed out and I clumsily dived out right after him.
I only knew Tom for a short time but a couple of seconds into that first sky dive, I knew that he was the kind of skydiver I wanted to emulate.
Wish I could have jumped with you one last time. Or at least done one of your other favorite sports, drinking beer, one last time. I'll miss never being able to see you or your gassed up bulldogs. Say hello to Henry for me, I'm sure you guys are already talking shit about us and he's probably driving your nuts. Blue ones always......
Ilea, thanks for posting those pictures. That night you guys all came over Tom brought over a bag of salomi. It was still in my fridge until New Years when I ate it all because I couldn't really stand looking at it every time I opened the door.
I'm glad that we all were able to hang out that night. That is really the last time I was able to hang out with Tom. I love the peace picture as I would like to think that Tom is up there looking down giving us all the peace sign.
I think one thing I can say about skydivers and the friendships that are made through the sport is that we all understand the risks involved and truly appreciate each and every moment we have with each other around. We always give hugs when leaving the dz, or a night out on town. Always saying that we love each other and to be safe. Hopefully there is some comfort in knowing that Tom knew how much he was loved by each and every one of us before he left us. We don't take anything for granted and that is truly definitive of a skydiver. We live life to the fullest always enjoying every moment of it knowing that tomorrow things might be different.
Things are different today. As Amazon said...lets remember all the great times, look at the video's, look at the pictures, and cherish those. Tom may not be performing CL in the physical presence but you can bet your ass that he is there with us all in spirit.
Amongst the pain and suffering that all of us are going through, lets crack a smile in there somewhere remembering all of the good times we had. The pictures help and so I say the more pictures we can put up here the better.
I can't believe it. I always look forward to seeing Tom when I come up to Byron and even more pumped if he shoots vid of me and my tandem. I feel very priveleged to have shot the shit and drank a beer after a good day with a really good man. This just fucking sucks. Blues skies man, you'll never be forgotten.