Family and friends of Portales residents Alan and Patricia “Pat” Dodd gasped when the couple showed their skydiving video last month during the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration.
Two months earlier, Alan, 71, and Pat, 69, did a tandem skydive in McKinney, Texas, in celebration of their golden anniversary. The couple, married Oct. 6, 1961, didn’t reveal their adventure to anyone until they played the video.
“The first thing that came up on the screen was Skydive Dallas and the instant that came on the screen, our oldest daughter gasped and she just kept gasping the whole time,” Alan Dodd said. “That’s when we came out of the closet, so to speak.”
It took Alan awhile to convince his wife it was a good idea.
“I said, ‘You know, the 50th wedding anniversary is a huge milestone, so let’s do something different to show honor to it,’” Alan said. “I said, ‘You know what we should do? We should go tandem skydiving.’ Then she (Pat) didn’t talk to me for the next two weeks.”
Patricia Dodd said she didn’t hesitate to tell her husband no when he first mentioned the idea, but after months of him not letting the subject go, she gave in.
“He’d sit in the chair in the living room with his legs up because that’s one of the things you have to do when you skydive is keep your legs up,” Patricia said. “I’d ask him what he was doing and he’d say, ‘Practicing for the skydive.’”
“I was deviously working on her,” Alan added, laughing. “To me, what is the most extraordinary about the event is that Pat didn’t show an ounce of fear the entire time. I’m still dumbfounded by that. She was completely fearless.”
Alan said anyone who knows his wife knows she is one of the last people who would do something crazy like skydiving.
“When we put the video on at our celebration, there were gasps. They couldn’t believe what they were seeing,” Alan said. “We are now forbidden to go on secret trips.”
He laughed again.
Alan said when his wife landed, the camera man filming her descent asked her how she was doing and she responded with, “I don’t want to do that again.”
“At the celebration, someone asked her if she’d do it again and she said yes,” Alan said, laughing.
“Because it was OK. It was fun,” added Pat. “I’d like to do it again and not get sick.”
Pat said she kept her eyes closed for part of it, because she felt nauseous most of the time.
“You free fall at 120 mph for about one minute at 5,000 feet in the air,” Alan said “That’s the exciting part.”
“You feel like your floating,” Pat said. “You don’t feel like you’re falling at all.”
The couple said although they would both be willing to take the dive again, the chances of them actually doing it again are slim.
“It would be on the top for the biggest activity adventure we’ve had,” Pat said. “All in all, it was fun.”
“We can’t quit bragging about it,” Alan said.