If you make a phone call to Mary Lou Brooks these days and if she does not answer, she may be out skydiving somewhere not far from here.  

Or maybe Mary Lou, now age 81, is entering a log-rolling competition at the Paul Bunyan Festival or maybe just having a leisurely weekend at a rally in support of the now demoted non-planet Pluto. On Pluto, the rally, I mean. The rally is on Pluto.

The point is, Dunwoody resident Mary Lou is a busy and active woman. My report of her log-rolling feat is fanciful. And while she may be rooting for Pluto to regain planet status, I doubt she had a two-night, three-day weekend on that “dwarf planet” at the edge of our solar system. it’s too cold, too rocky, so yester-light-year.

She’s just a busy person. And because she likes to spread her wings, so to speak, she went skydiving recently.

“My grandson and I talked of this joint venture several years ago as something to do on my 80th birthday.  However the jump was canceled at that time due to weather.  We would have done it last April but I had to have a shoulder replaced.”

So they rescheduled for this past April 12 or 13, depending on the weather.  

“That Saturday was perfect. We were on the first plane that day and I was first out.” 

She was paired and attached to her 26-year-old grandson for the dive. Other loved ones also were on hand, on the ground, including sons who came to Dunwoody from Asheville and a daughter who came from Shanghai.

I asked Mary Lou whether she had any fears or concerns about jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.

“I was more nervous the day I walked down the aisle to get married than I was with this.  I had been so looking forward to that day that I wasn’t scared at all.”

Did she ever think it was a bold thing to do at her age?

“No. Didn’t President George Bush do a skydive when he was 80 or so?”

Yes, he did several, including one on his 85th birthday. But has he done a zip line?

That’s next on Mary Lou’s ‘to do’ list.  She already also has enjoyed hot air ballooning and a ride in a glider plane. But, another skydive anytime soon?

“It was really a fantastic, marvelous experience, a once-in-a-lifetime episode,” she says. “But again? No, once was enough.”

Apparently a lot of people think skydiving once is not enough.  When you Google the word “skydiving,” you get more than 99 million results. By contrast, put in “skipping” on Google search and you get a measly 44.3 million results.

I tried a few other movable modes that humans might like.

“Sauntering” got 863,000 results on Google, not bad for a leisurely walk or a stroll. But “stroll” all by itself got more than 34 million hits. That tops “trot” by 14 million.

Here is a news flash for Mary Lou, however, one which she may wish to honor by sprinting somewhere and back for her 82nd birthday.

The word “sprint” in Google gets 134 million hits. That’s 35 million more than “skydive.”  So Mary Lou, we salute you and if you decide to enter a footrace next birthday, I’ll amble on over on my oversized geezer tricycle and cheer you on.


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