Saturday, March 1, 2008

March 1 – Caterpillar Day

"Life depends on a silken thread" - club motto


Mr. CPA and I aren’t exactly what you would call ‘joiners’. We’re a bit quirky and non-conforming and we like it that way.

However we are thrilled that 26 years ago today, Mr. CPA became a member of an exclusive club in which almost no one actively seeks membership. The Caterpillar Club.

There are no dues or meetings and the club is fairly small because only about 10 people per year qualify for membership.

The rule for membership is so simple that it is contained in a single sentence:
Members of the club must have saved their lives by using a parachute to jump out of a disabled aircraft.

Now Mr. CPA might point out that he did not jump so much as he was forcefully flung out by the centrifugal force of the plane’s inverted spin after he popped the canopy immediately following impact, but this, dear reader, is a technicality of a very minor sort.




The headline from the front page of the Pensacola Journal



The distressingly meager remains of the two planes



The rip cord that opened the best parachute ever



As it turns out, Mr. CPA had not personally checked his parachute before leaving because things had been a bit rushed getting ready for the training flight. He thought about it as he and the instructor hurried out to the plane but told himself, "I'm not going to need it."


To show his gratitude to the diligent workers who had obviously both packed the chute well and checked it correctly, Mr. CPA (in his then capacity of Mr. Marine Corp 2nd Lt.) bought a case of beer for each of the parachute packers on duty that day. Because when you're a young guy in your early twenties on military pay, a case of beer is a lot of gratitude.


But really? It wasn't enough.




* Caterpillar club image used with permission by Wikipedia

16 comments:

Cindy/Snid said...

Wow. What a story!

I wonder if the parachute was made of silk? Duh. I just put 2 and 2 together and got the caterpillar reference. I think?

Anyway- so glad that the parachute worked...

Kris said...

Wow! What an amazing story.

Jacqui said...

wow! how blest you both must feel on this day.

give Mr CPA my best and a hug- its okay, i am over the plague now!

knottykitty said...

All I can add to the prior comments is another WOW! That's quite a story! That's definitely an occasion to celebrate!

Mrs. G. said...

My blood pressure is up just reading that. Way to be brave Mr. CPA-next time check your pack!!!

Great story. I love happy endings.

Joanne said...

That is a heck of a good club to be a member of. One of the family friends I was closest to, growing up, was a medic during WWII. Uncle Leo was PUSHED out of the plane on D Day, and was shot in the hip on the Normandy Beaches. He walked with a limp for the rest of his life, but what did he enjoy showing me? The scar on his hand from where he'd been holding on to the door of the plane. He held on hard and they pushed him out!

A parachute is a wonderful thing. Glad your man is around to celebrate with you!

Anonymous said...

I knew the ending was good and I was still nervous reading that!

I think it's horrible that even 10 people a year get to join that club!

Kerry

Sheepish Annie said...

I love a happy ending!!!!! How utterly amazing to have survived something like that...

June said...

OMG, I have had goosebumps reading this! Give him a hug! From me! I can see why the club is so small, and probably we don't really want it to grow right!?

MaiaSpins said...

Yikes! That is a scary story! I'm glad there is a happy ending.

Cathy said...

Amazing!!!

I'll thank a caterpillar next time I see one.

Angela said...

Oh! Give Mr. CPA a hug for me (well, you know what I mean).

Melanie said...

Wow, so glad that Mr. CPA lived to tell the tale! That really is one for the scapbook.

annmarie said...

I have the pin that belonged to my dad who was a WWII pilot. I got a chill when I scrolled down and saw the photo. Glad your guy walked away and could join the Caterpillar Club, too.

Vallen said...

As I recall back in that day military pay was less than $200 a month.
Fantastic story. We love silk worms!!!

meningate said...

Sorry to scorrect you, but Caterpillars DO meet. The Caterpillar Club(NorthWest)Association meets ever March at Blackpool and Caterpillars and non caterpillars are welcome to join us for the evening, this year the weekend of 28th March. Terry Stacey, hon sec, properly.tyled@yahoo.co.uk