A few posts ago, I mentioned taking my son to an airshow. At that airshow he met a couple of the stunt pilots: Skip Stewart and Jim LeRoy. We had just finished watching their amazing show "Tinstix of Dynamite". At one point, during the show, a huge explosion went off and quite a few of us thought it was a plane that had crashed. Especially since a freaked out Freddy next to us said, "That had to have been a plane..." I found myself thinking, in that split second before we saw all three planes rise to the sky, "What are we doing here? With our son? Would we really want him to witness a plane crash?" ...and they do happen. A lot. Afterward, there was a meet and greet with those pilots. My husband told them how crazy they were. My son stared at them with the sparkly eyed wonder that only children are capable of achieving...before someone comes along and pulls the rug of imagination out from under them. Jim LeRoy got down on his level, shook his hand, gave him an autograph and told him about flying. Told him how it was no tougher than trying to drive while eating a Big Mac. Told him how happy he was to meet him. To come see him again. He stood, with a smile, and moved on to the next family. And we were impressed. By both him and Skip Stewart...and I felt okay again about airshows.
Jim LeRoy was killed in a plane crash this last weekend in Dayton, Ohio:
And this is when it sucks to be a parent. Because I cannot wipe away the sadness in my little flyboy's eyes...because I am too sad myself. Because I cannot make it "okay". Because all I can think of is a little 4 year old boy who lost his daddy. Because, on Saturday, that rug under my son got tugged on a little too hard.
Thank you Jim LeRoy, for taking the time for my son. You were a consummate showman.