Almost 99-year-old skydives in Nanaimo for free-falling Father's Day
NANAIMO -- Before he started serving at sea during the Second World War, Patrick remembers swerving on ice on a frozen Shawnigan Lake.
“We’d take the old Model-T out there and drive like crazy doing donuts!” Patrick recalls with a smile. “It was a real ball!”
Patrick told us about his thrill-seeking past in person a few years ago. But now the senior is only available by phone from his home near Nanaimo.
“The worst thing about [aging] is my eye-sight is going,” the almost 99-year-old says. “I can’t drive anymore.”
Because of that — and the pandemic — there was no way Patrick’s youngest daughter, Carolyn, would see him on Father’s Day.
“I don’t even know how I can describe [how hard it is] that you can’t put your arms around them,” Carolyn says from her home in the Caribou.
So, she decided to gift her dad another experience in her absence.
“He enjoys leaping out of airplanes,” Carolyn says of her daredevil dad. “So, what else can you do but give it to him!”
Carolyn shows me video of her dad waiting on the tarmac before heading into the Skydive Vancouver Island plane.
The man behind the camera asks Patrick if he’s ready for this. The almost 99-year-old answers with a smile, “Hot to trot!”
Patrick says he felt no fear being in the air because nothing compares to the real danger of being under the sea during the Battle of the Atlantic.
“Let’s get ready to rock and roll!” the senior says before jumping out of the plane.
While Patrick — and the professional skydiver he was attached to — spent 35 seconds free-falling 10,000 feet over Nanaimo, Carolyn was being told how it was going via phone in Quesnel.
“I was absolutely there every minute, listening that he was fine,” she says.
When the parachute finally opens, you can’t help but appreciate the unique perspective on the world, and consider what really matters in your life.
“Take whatever happens,” Patrick says. “And be happy.”
And tell your people — he adds — that you love them as much as you can.
“He’s my rock,” Carolyn smiles. “He’s my hero.”
After seeing this video of her dad feeling so happy while skydiving, she said, “It fills me up with joy.”
Patrick says it filled him up with something even better than those old Model-T frozen donuts.
“It was a real thrill,” you can hear him smiling over the phone. “It was wonderful.”
So, Carolyn is planning to do it again next year when her dad turns 100. Patrick’s looking forward to it.
“Live life to the fullest,” he says. “’Cause you only got one to take with you!”