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Texas, United States


Taking It To A Risky Edge In Real Life

I've seen that Top Gun is coming out enhanced in 3D. I probably won’t go see it again, though the music in it is mesmerizing, I don't like how loud movie theaters are these days. I've already seen it at least a half dozen times on TV, maybe more, after I first saw it in a theater and loved it.  It wasn't that I was that interested in Tom Cruise, though he was an adorable hunk clothed in tidy white towels, white briefs, and Navy dress whites in his youth, so were several other buff bodies in the movie. I was more interested in the roaring jets of the Cold War era and have been fascinated with them since the Vietnam War for reasons I won’t go into, but did in my memoir.

I can still get a little chill when a fighter jet flies over and that’s quite often because I live on the edge of a city with several military bases with airstrips. When the huge transports fly over low they make shadows in the yard. I have finally gotten used to the training jets flying around and around in huge circles as trainee’s practice touch and goes around the outer edge of town where I live, but now I can smile at them instead of tear up. I've found that time does lessen painful bruises of the heart.

Maverick in the movie was accused by Iceman as being “dangerous,” but Maverick and his co-pilot, Goose, didn't think so…until Goose and Maverick had to eject during a death spiral and Goose was killed because of a faulty canopy. Then Maverick didn't want to take risks anymore and didn't graduate Top Gun. He didn't get dangerous again until he had to make a rapid choice with Russian Migs firing around him whether to save Iceman and others, and made the brave choice, and became a hero, and then Iceman finally liked him. He also gets the girl in the expected.
I suppose I have a bit of “maverick” in my blood and have had all my life. I've taken it to the dangerous edge a number of times over the years and I'm not sure why. 

Once I did on an inner tube riding in the surf at the Gulf in a “no swim” area with friends. They got back safely but I didn't know how to swim yet and was pulled out by a rip tide so far offshore I couldn't see the coast, and then had to think about being stupid and risky all alone, except for friendly dolphins circling me for a couple hours before the Coast Guard found me. I decided that day I would never again ride a tube in the Gulf anywhere and I never have. Some lessons I learned the hard way.

Again I took it to the edge on the back of a black quarter horse in a race as a teenager because I wanted to win an automatic washing machine for my Mamma so bad I was willing to risk my neck and I did and I won. But Daddy saw the match race and realized the danger and took my horse away to herd cattle on. I actually didn't mind that much because my boyfriend was back in town and I had raced as fast as I ever wanted to and because I had already been bucked off him into a fence post that almost broke my neck. After I got pregnant a few months later, I knew Dad had made the correct choice.

My sister in law who lived around the corner from me once called in the middle of the night, freaked out, thinking a burglar was trying to break in her front door while both our husbands were away. I didn't think twice about the danger or call the police either, they had four young daughters. I loaded a 30-06 hunting rifle running out the door barefoot in a sheer nightgown to chase the stray dog away. That never happened again but I would likely have done the same thing, even though she primly pointed out I was running around the neighborhood improperly dressed after midnight…after she felt safe again. She thought I should rush back home but I didn't...I slung the rifle over my shoulder and walked back daring a real burglar to come along. My next door neighbor was out in his yard smoking a late night cigarette and I waved. Next morning he wanted to know if he was hallucinating.

I once worked for an orthodontist where the famous race car driver, A.J. Foyt’s son was getting his teeth straightened. I mentioned to one of his friendly drivers who brought the son in for adjustments, that I had always wanted to drive a race car.  No problem He invited me out to the track and harnessed me into a colorful car, but after a number of trips around the huge oval going faster and faster with the "real" driver instructing me with yells and the speedometer inching into the 140's, I saw another curve looming up ahead. I backed totally off the accelerator and was satisfied I knew how dangerous that occupation was. He called me “chicken”for more reasons than one but I didn't mind clucking home intact that time. 

My older brother and some of his high school jock friends once dared me to drink too many whiskey shots at the kitchen table while our parents were away and I don’t have to tell you how bad that turned out. The jocks all had a mess on several floors to clean up because I couldn't. Brother and I were both grounded for weeks, after he stopped crying and I sobered up and could walk again. A few sips of liquor still makes me feel ill so I shied away from it from then on. I blame Jack Daniels and those shocked jocks for totally throwing my alcohol metabolism  mechanism off kilter 

When I decided to publish my memoir, I knew I was taking me to another perilous edge, but the feelings and reasons that inspired me to write it were more intense than any fear I had of what others might think about it. I have been chastised by a few who didn't like what I wrote about them, but I've  had time to give it a lot of thought, and listen to what others think, and I have no regrets. Though it has caused me a few tears, I can find many reasons to smile about it.  It was my life and I wrote it as I lived it…at full throttle and intensely honest about it. 

It's a miracle I have survived as long as I have and in appreciation, I've slowed way down in my "golden years" to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Figure there is no reason left to take it to another dangerous edge...unless I get a frantic call at midnight.


Jon said...

"but the feelings and reasons that inspired me to write it were more intense than any fear I had of what others might think about it."

I really like that Anna. I really think it was the right choice.

Anna Maria said...

Thanks Jon! When I have doubts, if I look back at reality, I can usually find something that reminds me why I put myself through that heartache. :)

Paul Sunstone said...

I rather admire your spirit. You've time and again taken more risks than I ever have, and I used to fight fires.

DMS said...

Oh my- look at all the risks you have taken! I think I might be most shocked by the tubing when you didn't know how to swim. Glad you were able to take some risks and enjoy the rewards. Look at the stories you have to tell now. I loved hearing these!

Anna Maria said...

Thanks Paul! The reason that neighbor was out in his yard so late that evening I went "burglar" hunting was he had just gotten off his late shift firefighter job, an occupation I greatly admire!

Anna Maria said...

Thanks Stephanie, that tube incident taught me as a 14 year old to pay attention to warning signs nailed on bridges at the mouth of rivers spilling into Gulfs.

Anthony said...

I'll have to check, as I just noticed a quick blurb on the subject; however, I think the 3-D movie's release has been delayed. Again, need to verify accuracy of that one.

Anna Maria said...

Thanks for stopping by Anthony. I haven't seen it advertised on TV the last week so you may be right.

Jill Paterson said...

A great post, Anna. I loved reading about your escapades. The sailing expedition is, however, a frightening one.
Please keep gardening instead.

Anna Maria said...

Thanks Jill! I am focusing on gardening a lot more and none whatsoever on scary surfing. :)

Jill Paterson said...

Anna, your blog posts never disappoint and are enjoyed by many so I’m awarding you a Versatile Blogger Award. You can read about it here http://www.the

Anna Maria said...

Jill...thanks so very much! I do so appreciate the award!