Saxophones, Jumpmasters, and Memories

My father is a former artillery officer and Jumpmaster in the Army. Jumpmasters are in charge of paratroopers. They are the leaders who have the privilege, or not, of being last out of the airplane and ensure their men’s safety (at that time women weren’t paratroopers). Jumpmasters make sure the soldiers jump at appropriate intervals so no in-flight collisions occur and soldiers go spiraling to their death. They “convince” the men to jump out of a perfectly good airplane regardless of whether or not the soldiers desire it. Jumpmasters are the ones who get shot at the most since they’re the last out. So, they have to be creative in order to keep their troops parachuting to the targeted drop-zone and themselves alive.

Dad showed this budding creativity when he was younger. According to many, he could have become a professional saxophone player with his top-of-the-line French-made Selmer saxophone. In high school, he had an unusual way of ensuring the dexterity of his sax-playing hands – he faithfully practiced on one of the two special electric IBM Selectric typewriters that his tiny high school could afford. He didn’t care about how fast he could type, but he made it to the State Competition in Typewriting anyway. Why? That typewriter kept his fingers in tip-top sax-playing shape. I guess sometimes we work on things that we assume may not gain us anything. Maybe what we’re working on now is simply preparing us for what is in our future. Thanks, Dad, for the example, and thanks, Mom, for sharing the memory.

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