He gathered a bottle of soda, milk jugs full of water for ballast, a pellet gun, a portable CB radio, an altimeter, and a camera; then he sat down ready for his journey.
When the tether lines were finally cut, Larry Walters rocketed into the sky above San Pedro. He had miscalculated a little, no a lot. Larry found himself leveling out near 12,000 feet above Long Beach, drifted into the approach path to Long Beach Municipal Airport, stunned pilots from passing Delta and TWA planes alerted air traffic controllers about what appeared to be an unprotected man floating through the sky in a chair.
Meanwhile, Larry, feeling cold and dizzy in the thin air, shot several of his balloons with the pellet gun in order to bring himself back down to earth. He ended up tangled in a set of high-voltage power lines, blacking out a portion of Long Beach for twenty minutes.
When the emergency crews finally helped him down, news reporters pushed microphones in his face demanding at least a comment.
"It was my dream," he said.
In an interview right after his famous flight, Larry said," It was something I had to do. I had this dream for twenty years, and if I hadn't done it, I think I would have ended up in the funny farm. You just can t sit around all your life, sometimes you just have to do it!
He was the Lawn chair man with a crazy dream. But, what do you do with life once you’ve lived your dream?
A little over eleven years later, Larry packed up a small handgun, hiked into the San Gabriel Mountains, and ended his now dreamless life. Larry missed the point.
Oh, and just a few years ago I read of about Ken Couch, 47, of Bend Oregon. He attached
105 balloons to a lawn chair and for nine hours he flew across much of Oregon, 11,000 feet and higher (What is this flying lawn chair craze?)
After the flight, his wife said, "I thought about saying no to this, but I knew he'd be thinking about it more and more, it would always be on his mind. This way, at least he's fulfilled his dream."
Ken fulfilled his dream, but he wasn’t a one-dream man; he kept on dreaming.
Face it; our lives begin as dreams and dreams fill your days. We move, sometimes reluctantly, from dream to dream, from challenge and accomplishment, to more challenges and more accomplishments. Some dreams are about us and some are beyond us. And, I know, some dreams never happen. Some are small and possible, others are beyond your vision and impossible. But, we are more, much more than one “lawn chair” dream.
Dream big and dream often. Dream the impossible…see the invisible. I'm talking about something bigger than scoring the last minute goal, or being on American Idol, or flying in a lawn chair. Do you have at least one dream about doing something that leaves Arlington a better place? Can you see yourself getting out of the shallows and into the deep?
Do you have altruistic dreams? They are gifts from God; threat them seriously and unwrap them slowly.
Take a moment to get somewhere alone, just you and God. Take pen and paper (electronic device if you are digital) and make a list the dreams you have lived, and the ones yet to be lived. Pray for courage.
Now, just for fun pick an easy one. Own it! Share it! Do it! Then, celebrate! Oh, and keep dreaming. Dreams are the universal antidote for boredom.
But, leave the lawn chairs at home.