Mennonite BASE Jumpers

I live in South Central Idaho, in the “Magic Valley,” and it is indeed magical. Progress continues in the Magic Valley—not so much in a big-city cultural arts and events way, but more like an outdoorsy, friendly, brew-pub dining, Costco vibe. We feature a wide, high bridge over a huge canyon and our regulations allow people to jump off it. With parachutes. Suicide is of course discouraged.

Our demographics remain thin in the black American population, while somewhat overrepresented with our Mormon friends. Yet our little haven does include African refugees, a significant Hispanic representation, and even a variety of “minority white groups” if I may use the term: Dutch immigrants (via California), Romanians, house-hungry Coloradans, and longstanding Mennonites. These Mennonites, friendly as they are, pretty much keep to themselves, living out in the countryside near a town spelled “Castleford,” though more often referred to as “Casselferd.”

The whole Mennonite vibe is really something. Big on the men working the land, big on the women canning the produce, up with frugality. Small on fashion, popular music, extravagance, technology—well, non-farming technology—and seemingly down on fun in general. Particularly adrenaline-sourced fun: I don’t suppose adrenaline production is encouraged by the Mennonites. Such as BASE jumping.

But are they missing it here? They are so very close to that bridge, and it’s a relatively frugal activity—unlimited jumps are free after investing in that used Craigslist parachute. Makes me wonder whether Mennonite teenagers are sneaking in jumps on Saturdays after they fulfil their runs to the farm supply store. On second thought, this may include the twenty-something Mennonites as well, also lodging at the homestead.

“Blosser, my son, I noticed that obscenely colorful fabric in the pickup bed along with the new gate panels. Appears to be a parachute. What say you to this? Pursuing now the thrills of this world?”

“Sorry papa, I was compelled to discover. Yet I was careful, papa, I promise, I know you need me on the farm.”

“I have good insurance, Blosser, that’s not my concern. I believe this distraction may bring excitement beyond your nature. Fun, my child, is an addictive master. Next thing you know, shaving posts will become uninteresting…the joy of setting ditch siphons may fade.”

“No, no, papa, I did not shriek and displayed only one small fist pump. It is merely my way of getting fresh air, perhaps like a walk down the lane. Please, sir, allow me to continue this activity on occasion so at least I do not commit the sin of wasting my investment.”

“That is a good point, Bloss. A fine point. I shall permit you to continue, but I require that you bleach the fabric.”

“Thank you, thank you, papa!”

“… and also Blosser, put the farm’s web URL upon it, such that it is clearly visible from above.”

Copyright © 2022 Richard Berndt – All Rights Reserved.

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