Who needs Barbie when you could have Knievel?

Hey There Everyone!  I am Michelle Rodriguez (you can call me Chelle or MRod), newest blogger to Blue Skies.  This is my introduction…

When I was a little girl, I lived in a holler in West Virginia.  Life was quiet and a lot of times I was left to my own imagination.  My Ma bought me toys like bags of plastic multi color animals, Star Wars action figures and one of my greatest loves of all – the Evel Knievel doll, complete with motorcycle and a cape (or maybe I made him a cape, I cannot remember).  The motorcycle “ran” through the use of a red wind-em-up apparatus that you locked the bike into and after a couple of cranks it would send him barreling across the room.  The thing is, even at that age I could not understand why other girls wanted to play with Barbie who was all about shoes and purses and shopping.  But Evel…holy shit…Evel concerned himself with pushing the limits of how many cars he could jump over before barely cheating death.  I would line up all of my Hot Wheels, Tonkas and at the end the girlie Barbie dolls would be laid side by side, preparing for the eminent possibility of death.  I would put Evel on his bike and he would ride around a makeshift arena, all the while I would fake the uproar of the crowd.  Then the moment would come when he would take that leap which always miraculously ended with his clearing all of the cars, trucks and maidens in a row (ok, well, he might have skated across Barbie’s head a few times but only because I thought it was unfair that the boys got all the fun and the girls were stuck with “her”).

During those days when summer seemed endless and the woods behind my house was my playground, I would swing from grapevines that crawled up trees and were cut at the root. I would carry the vine as far up the hill into the woods as I could.  And then I would hop up, take a high grip and fly.  As I swung all the way out, over the backyard fence, face looking to the clouds – there was that one moment when the forward momentum stopped and the swing back started.  That few seconds of hang time.  That is what it is like for me when I jump out of a plane. I am still a kid, caught in that moment when the world seems to stop and I am just there for the adventure.  I dreamed about that last night…being a kid, swinging on those old vines – that feeling.  It’s the same feeling I get when I jump out of planes.  I live for those few moments when all the world sort of clicks into place, my heart picks up speed and life gives me the ride of my life.

PD New Beginning

So, here’s to Evel Knievel who made me imagine that doing crazy stunts was possible (even for a tomboy from a holler in West By Gawd).  And here’s to my skydiving brothers at WV Skydivers who allowed me to realize that a crusty old broad like myself still has the potential to bring those kinds of childhood daydreams to life.

I hope you enjoy my blog as I track my adventures through my education in the sky.


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