On a rare day of sun amid a week of clouds, 73-year-old Linda Groshart took to the skies Wednesday, parasailing for the first time in her life.
She wasn’t afraid — “no fear whatsoever” — she said before she headed for the speedboat that would take her flying over Commencement Bay. As she strapped on her life vest, she was laughing.
“It took so long to do it,” Groshart said. “Somebody kept saying every year that we’d go this year, we’ll go this year …”
The Tacoma woman, a resident of Point Defiance Village retirement home, wasn’t new to these sorts of adventures.
In the past, she’s visited Asia, Australia and Africa. She came back from Shanghai last month after volunteering to promote new retirement homes for Point Defiance Village’s parent company, Holiday Retirement.
Wednesday, she began a new adventure: completing all the items on her bucket list — starting with parasailing.
She had been waiting for a chance since she first saw someone parasailing on a trip to Mexico with her husband, Earl.
She finally grew tired of waiting and, with a small push from Point Defiance Village, decided to go for it, becoming the first senior at the retirement home to tackle her bucket list.
Vanessa Gutierrez, the enrichment coordinator at Point Defiance Village, recently started a group for seniors to create and complete bucket lists.
Hoping to encourage them in their journeys, Gutierrez organizes monthly meetings, opening the group to any of the 180 resident at the home.
“Anything that anyone here has ever wanted to do, I want to play a role in making that happen for them,” Gutierrez said.
On Wednesday, Groshart, accompanied by her husband, Gutierrez and a handful of buddies from Point Defiance Village, arrived at the docks on Ruston Way.
After the group ate lunch at the Ram restaurant, Groshart and Gutierrez headed to Pacific Parasail to get ready for the main event. They filled out paperwork and chatted with their friends until they were called to the waiting speedboat.
In minutes, Groshart and Gutierrez, riding side by side, were sailing through the blue sky under a giant a red parachute.
Earl Groshart watched his wife’s flight from the nearby docks on Ruston Way. He said a heart condition kept him from parasailing, but he was happy to see his wife cross off her first bucket list item.
“We’ve been married for 39 years, and for 39 years, we’ve lived together but we’ve done our own thing,” he said. “She does her own thing.”
After about 20 minutes parasailing and another 40 boating on Commencement Bay, Linda Groshart returned to the docks with a smile on her face.
“This was like a hot air balloon without the fire,” she said. “It was just amazing.”
Given the chance to fly again, “I’d do it again in a New York minute,” she said.
But first will come the other four items on her to-do list: Next up, riding the Ferris wheel in Seattle; then going skydiving, climbing Mount Rainier and watching the Seattle Mariners win the World Series.
Of the Mariners, she said, “That’s the only one I don’t think I’ll be able to complete.”
Manola Secaira: 253-597-8876