Extraordinary Stories

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The "A Family Week At The Beach: Part I" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Just finished loading onto my computer the 1,487 photos that I took while on vacation last week at Ocean City, NJ.  A few I will use in stories I am writing, but the remainder I will share with you.  I have decided to put a few family photos on today and tomorrow will share the photos that have no real meaning, but are fun to take and show the flavor and perspective of Ocean City.  I may not have featured all my family members in today's photos, but I'm sure they understand and perhaps really don't care.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.


Grandson Caden, son Tad and granddaughter Camille have just finished the 1000 piece puzzle in the same day.
Camille and Tad riding the "Double Shot".
Guest Kylie with granddaughters Courtney and Camille as they prepare to ride the "Hurricane".
Caden and son Derek about to enter the "Haunted House". 
Camille, Derek Courtney and daughter-in-law Barb on the log flume.
Camille waiting for a wave to ride.
Camille doing one of her performances on the beach.  She is a skilled gymnast.
Son-in-law Dave playing with Caden.
Barb has just finished her first puzzle.
Caden and Camille
The power was out so my daughter Brynn's face is illuminated with a flashlight as she pretends to blow out the candles on her birthday cake.   We forgot the matches and the stove was electric so she pretended to blow out the candles for this photo. 
And, one last photo of Camille performing on the beach with a one-handed hand-stand.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The "Amish Hero" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Except for the fact that the Amish community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, lost one of their heroes.  People all over the world may recall that in 2006 a mentally disturbed man entered a small Amish schoolhouse at Nickel Mines in Bart Township and shot ten young school girls, killing five of them before turning the gun on himself as first responders began to break through the door of the school.  The one-room Amish schoolhouse was soon dismantled and a new one built several hundred yards away.  But, the five young girls who lost their lives were remembered shortly afterwards when an Amish man and his hired helper planted five pear trees at the site of the former schoolhouse.  Today they are much taller and are a fitting remembrance to the lives lost that day.  
Trooper Jonathan A. Smith, Amish hero.
Pennsylvania State Police photograph.
But, another piece of the story that fateful day just died recently.  Trooper Jonathan A. Smith, 47 year old Pennsylvania State Trooper, died of pancreatic cancer June 12th at his home in nearby York County, PA.  It seems that Trooper Smith was among the first who entered the school, using his shield to smash one of the windows of the school and once inside he began to carry the wounded girls outside.  For his actions he, along with nine of his fellow Troopers, were awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest honor that can be achieved in the Pennsylvania State Police.  Not only was he a hero that day, but he continued to return to the school to check on the rest of the girls.  He would get down on his knees and give hugs to all the girls.  He, along with other troopers, returned often to try and ease the pain the others felt.  He could be seen in his uniform playing baseball outside the new school with the kids and he also would stop and visit some of the other Amish families at their farms.  Trooper Smith had two girls, ages 8 and 11 at the time of the shootings, that became good friends with two of the girls who where wounded that day.   During the Christmas season the surviving girls and their families would bake cookies and deliver them to the troopers at their barracks.  Some of the troopers were invited to Amish weddings when two of the wounded girls recently married.  Now, the Amish community is mourning the loss of their hero, Trooper Smith, who helped heal the wounds from that terrible day in 2006.  Trooper Smith will always be remembered in the hearts of all who knew him, especially in the Amish community of Lancaster County.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The "A World Record …. Almost!" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Walking the boardwalk in Ocean City, NJ with my son Derek and grandson Caden.  Our destination this evening is the basketball shooting cage and the cage where you can see how hard you can throw a baseball.  An hour ago Derek and Caden had spent almost half an hour on the beach throwing the baseball to prepare Caden for what was to come.  Caden has been playing youth baseball for three years now and is on a travel team this year.  He has been playing third base, first base and doing some pitching.  Recently he has been asked to pitch a few more innings and has contributed to the team by now allowing an earned run yet this season.  He is 10 years old and can throw the ball hard.  But, just how hard can he really throw it! We were about to find out.  We arrived at the cage and there were a few other boys gathered around, mostly Caden's age.  Posted on a white board was the top speed for a youth that day, which was 52 MPH, and the top adult speed, which was in the low 70s.  Derek paid for six baseballs and handed Caden the first ball.  He told his son to aim for the catcher's mitt and just take his time on this first ball, so as not to hurt his arm.  
Caden firing toward the catcher.
Caden let loose and up popped 123 MPH on the electronic sign.  Wow!  That got the attention of just about everyone standing around watching Caden.  I said to Derek, "I wasn't ready with the camera and didn't get a photo of the speed.  And, there is no way he threw the ball that fast."  
The radar reading shows a daily high of 52 MPH.
Caden grabbed the next ball, wound up and let it fly.  48 MPH registered.  Not bad for a 10 year old.  He eventually hit the 52 MPH speed and impressed the other young boys standing there watching.  They all knew, including Caden, that the original speed listed must have been a malfunction in the radar gun.  He tied the daily record, but was told he had to break it to have his name on the board.  We stood and watched a few other boys throw, one hitting the high 40s MPH.  Caden was proud of himself as we walked away, heading for a treat to cool him down.  If only I would of had my camera trained on the radar setting for the first throw, Caden would have a photo to impress his friends.  Oh well, maybe next year.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.



Saturday, June 27, 2015

The "Beyond The Grave: A Tale Of Roadside Cemeteries" Story

Roadside cemetery at Rts. 30/283W and 501N
It was an ordinary day.  Slowed down in traffic on an exit off SR30/ 283W, where it enters on SR501N, so my wife can snap a photo of the small roadside cemetery that sits along the exit ramp.  She said she remembered reading about the cemetery years ago.  Said that a local boy scout was cleaning the cemetery of debris and taking care of it for the summer for his Eagle Badge.  I kind of remember that too, but couldn't find any stories to document that fact.  There are probably hundreds of cemeteries in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, many of them directly along roadways with many covered with weeds and vegetation.  
The Buch Family Cemetery on Buch Ave. in Manheim Twp.
Notice the car passing by the roadside cemetery. 
During my daily travels I constantly pass the cemetery which my wife just photo- graphed.  Often tempted to stop and look at some of the tombstones, but it doesn't look safe with constant traffic passing closeby.  Since Lancaster borough was chartered in 1742, there have been many roadside cemeteries established, primarily by families.  Lancaster was settled by immigrants from Germany and Switzerland who were Mennonites and Amish.  
One of the few headstones in the Buch
cemetery that was readable.
Besides being considered "Plain people," they were German Lutheran and Reformed.  It is said that Hans Tschantz, the first Mennonite bishop in Lancaster County set aside a graveyard in West Lampeter Townshp in 1740.  The land for the graveyard was laid out for the Swiss pioneers in 1710 with the oldest tombstone in the Tschantz graveyard dated April 20, 1739.  I'm not sure if the Tschantz Cemetery is located along a county road, but there are many such cemeteries in Manheim Township where I live.  I took a trip through Manheim Township recently and easily found a few cemeteries straddling the side of county roads.  One such site was on Buch Ave. near the farm where I buy strawberries in the spring.  Many of the tombstones carry the Buch name so I assume many of the Buch family, which still survives in Manheim Township, are buried in the roadside graveyard.  Recently quite a few of these tombstones were damaged.  
The lovely Bassler cemetery bordering Fruitville Pike.
When I stopped to take photographs, I noticed that one large one had been rather poorly repaired.  Another roadside cemetery about a quarter mile from the Buch gravesite is the Bassler Cemetery which is located along what was once called Fruitville Turnpike and is now known as Fruitville Pike.  Neat little 30 by 40 foot shaded cemetery that has 29 headstones marked with the Bassler name or Bassler linage.  
One of the few readable headstones in
the Bassler cemetery.  
About a mile away I found a roadside Amish Cemetery with a black wrought-iron fence around it with about 30 tombstones in it facing away from the road.  After doing more research I found a book by Troy Taylor titled "Beyond The Grave" which talked about the mystery and history of the cemetery in America where he talks of "garden" cemeteries much like those found in Europe in the 1800's.  Many of those were found in churchyards, but my guess is that many found their way into the corner of the family property which eventually had a paved roadway go past it.  Search through your neighborhood and see if you too can't find a few roadside cemeteries.  History can be exciting!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.


The Amish cemetery that is surrounded with a wrought-iron fence.






Friday, June 26, 2015

The "Shot Down Big Time" Story

Stuart Woods, relative of Tiger Woods as he claims.
It was an ordinary day.  Just received an email from one of my favorite writers, Stuart Woods.  It was in 1991, while looking for a few novels to take on vacation with me, I found a book titled New York Dead by Stuart Woods.  Thought to myself any book written by a guy who has the same last name as me has to be fantastic so I bought a hard-back copy to take with me.  After reading the first two words …. Elaine's late ….. I couldn't put the book down.  The main character in the novel was a fellow by the name of Stone Barrington who was an ex-cop.  Well, that was almost 15 years ago and since that first novel I have read just about everyone that Stuart Woods has written.  Book series with characters such as ex-chief-of-police Holly Barker, lawyer Ed Eagle and security expert Rick Barron have found a place on my bookshelf as well as on my Kindle.  Stuart Woods, along with James Patterson, has filled my vacation time with countless hours of entertainment as I bask in the Caribbean and New Jersey beach's sun.  After reading my last Stuart Woods novel, Unnatural Acts, featuring Stone Barrington, I checked out all the info at the end of the book and found I can email Mr. Woods.  That's exactly what I did after reading all his notes about what to do and what not to do in your email.  He tells his fans not to send any attachments to their emails since he will not open them.  If I want to point out mistakes in his book, don't send them to him.  He gives an address if you wish to buy TV or movie rights to his books.  And, don't send him any ideas for books; he has plenty of his own ideas and if you have an idea, write the book yourself.  My email I sent told him where I live and that I enjoy all his characters he writes about in his books.  Told him he was the inspiration for how I start each story on my blog which I write daily.  It was an ordinary day ….. much like he began many of his novels in the Stone Barrington series with ….. Elaine's late ….. came about because of Stuart Woods.  (If you have read my stories for years, you probably know that the inspiration for my blog was the movie "Julie and Julia").  I also suggested in my email to Mr. Woods that we may be related to one another.  We are both in the prime of our life, we both enjoy writing and we both share the same last name.  Well, he returned my email in 22 minutes telling me thanks for all the kind words, but he didn't think we were related since he took his stepfather's name and he has no Woods relatives, except, of course, cousin Tiger.  Cute!!  Shot down by one of my favorite authors.  Oh well, I still will purchase his books since I love his characters and the way he writes.  And, "Best Regards" to you also, Stuart.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  



Thursday, June 25, 2015

The "French Creole Houses of Saint Martin" Story

French Creole style house found in Marigot, St. Martin
It was an ordinary day.  Driving through the city of Marigot on the French side of St. Martin in the Caribbean.  The architecture is amazing with old mansions turned into shops and museums as well as a few typical colorful Creole Houses from the 17th century.  In many parts of the southern Caribbean, the term Creole people is used to refer to the mixed-race descendants of Europeans and African slaves born in the islands of St. Lucia, Martinique, Dominica, Haiti, Guadeloupe, St. Barts, French Guiana, Belize, Trinidad & Tobago and St. Martin.  
Another Creole style house along one of the main streets.
A typical creole person from the Caribbean had French and/or Spanish ancestry, mixed with African and Native American.  Their homes were typical of the French colonial style known as poleax-sur-sol which were constructed by erecting a palisade of logs on top of a stone foundation.  There were no interior hallways and the living quarters were raised about ground level.  They were usually one story homes with a low slope to the roof.  Inside the home the living room was found first, then one or two bedrooms and finally the kitchen in the rear of the home.  The houses were usually built close to the street with a very small front yard.  The steps leading to the house were usually wood, but may have been replaced with concrete steps.  
French artist Pierre Straub has used the Creole style house
while creating his marquetry type artwork.
I have found they are similar to what is known as the Shotgun house or Railroad apartment.  Both these styles of houses declined and eventually began to disappear in the early 20th century.  In the past few years Carol and I have made visits to the gallery of Peirre Straub, a French island artist who specializes in marquetry and who has used the Creole homes as part of his work. The homes are fairly east to find when driving through the town and around the fringes of the town.  Some are in very poor condition while others have been cared for over their lifetime.  They are a vital and interesting part of the French architecture of the town and make it so interesting to view on our visits to Marigot.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The "The Horrors of Battle: Part II"

It was an ordinary day.  Sitting with Tom in his family room, looking at his scrapbook of Polaroid enlargements of the Vietnam War.  Yesterday I began my story by talking about the use of the chemical Agent Orange during the war and the horrors it caused then, and is still causing now, to all the troops that fought so valiantly during the Vietnam War.  Today I will show you a few of Tom's photos to give you an idea what it was like to be in battle during the 20 year war which eventually was won by our enemy, North Vietnam.  The photos, to many, will probably mean nothing more than a glimpse of what another country looks like, but to Tom who fought the battle for what now seems like a lost cause, it is a part of his life that he looks back on, not with fond memories, but with memories of those who had to endure the hardships of living in a land where warfare was with them every day of their lives.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.


This is a bunker north of Saigon.  The commanding officer had planes bomb the area in the distance where there were suspected North Vietnamese firing at the bunker.  The walls of the bunker are seven to eight feet thick with sand bags.
This is Sergeant Tom in the bunker. 
Tom accompanied by his dog, Lucky "2".  The communication antennas are 2 1/2 stories high. 
This tower was a 5 story high lookout.  It was bombed with rockets from the North Vietnamese and fell when Tom was close to the bottom.  He luckily wasn't severely injured.  
Ann Margaret and Bob Hope arrived in 123 degree heat for a Christmas presentation for 25,000 troops.  No one knew of the location where the program was held until the last minute to prevent bombing of the program.
This is a fish net factory on the fringes of Saigon that was being protected by US troops.  Fish nets are needed by many in Vietnam for work and survival. 
Tom is stationed on top of the fish net factory in this photo.  The rounded sections are semi-conductor culverts that are covered with sandbags.
This is a Buddhist Temple which was destroyed immediately after the United States withdrew their troops.
Photo that Tom took while on R&R in Hawaii.  His camera and photo were taken from him as they were not allowed.  Another serviceman returned the camera and photo to him before he returned to his base in Vietnam.
Tough to realize the horrors of war that Tom faced on a daily basis because he wasn't able to capture any photos during incoming fire or during the night when the Agent Orange rained down upon the troops as they slept under their ponchos. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The "The Horrors of Battle: Part I"

It was an ordinary day.  Watching a DVD of my friend and neighbor, Tom, which shows him talking to a class of sophomore high school students about the Viet Nam War.  They sit with eyes opened wide, staring at Tom as he talks of having to pull his poncho over his head to avoid getting covered with Agent Orange that is dropping from the skies, during the middle of the night, by the U.S. airplanes.  It was in early April of 1968 that he arrived in Vietnam, a 127,207 square mile country located in Southeast Asia, to try and help the South Vietnamese  people fight off the people to the north.  Tom was one of the sentries that patrolled with his loyal dog "Lucky" during the night, guarding his platoon and keeping a watch for the North Vietnamese troops.  He eventually saw field duty and it was during that time that he got to witness the horrors of the chemical known today as Agent Orange.  The chemical was used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program in Vietnam to help defoliate the landscape and make it easier to see the enemy.  Agent Orange was manufactured primarily by Monsanto and Dow and was given the name from the color of the orange-striped barrels in which it was shipped.  The oil-based liquid was dropped mainly at night while the US troops slept.  Tom, during a visit with him, told me that while bedded down in their camps, would hear the planes arriving to dump the liquid and would have to pull their ponchos over themselves to avoid getting covered with the liquid.  The next morning they would hike to nearby streams to wash the liquid from their ponchos and witness residents of South Vietnam washing their clothes and dishes in the stream that had just been covered with the orange-smelling liquid the night before.  
Tom looking over his scrapbook that
contains memories of the Viet Nam War.
The residents also gathered containers of water to take to their homes to drink and bath in.  Agent Orange would kill the animals and people, sometimes within a week of being covered with the chemical.  After returning home after the war, many servicemen faced the fact that they were probably going to develop prostrate cancer from the Agent Orange contamination.  Reports from the early 2000's showed that over 52,000 men had been reported to have prostrate cancer from the chemical, including Tom.  How many more may have it or have died from it is unknown.  The chemical can be in your body for up to 35 years or more before it begins to create problems.  And if you have the chemical in your body, it never leaves.  Tom, at present is a three-time cancer surviver, all due to Agent Orange.  He fought the prostrate problem, then developed thyroid cancer which had to be surgically removed and now is fighting cancer in his spine.  His time from June of 1968 to July of 1969 spent in Vietnam, and being exposed many times to Agent Orange, has been a living nightmare for him.  His cancer is being controlled at present without surgery, but he worries about what will happen next.  One of the worst parts of the use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War is that it may have helped find the enemy, but was it worth all the pain and suffering it caused the residents of South Vietnam or the many American heroes that fought valiantly for years in a country that was overrun with the enemy immediately after we pulled our troops from battle.  And, after returning home, many were persecuted for being part of the war in Vietnam.  Tomorrow I will feature a few of Tom's photos from his scrapbook of memories from the war in Vietnam.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The "The Ironman Of The Family" Story

Story in the Lancaster Newspaper
It was an ordinary day.  Opened the sports section of the morning paper and there was my nephew, Matt, staring at me from the bottom right corner.  "Cocalico coach set for second Ironman" claimed the headline.  It was about ten months ago that I wrote about Matt participating in a triathlon in Atlantic City last September.  That was after he participated in his first Ironman competition earlier in the summer.    I gave you a look at the bike he rides and the training needed to participate and finish a race of either magnitude.  Matt is soon going to participate in his second Ironman in Atlantic City, (2) a 112 mile bike ride on the nearby roads of Wharton State Forest , and (3) a 26.2 mile marathon on the  boardwalk in Atlantic City.  
Matt participating last year in competition.
This year Matt is obtaining sponsors for each mile in the race.  The money raised will be for Schreiber Pediatric Center in Lancaster, Pennsyl- 

vania where his wife Katie is a speech therapist.  So what needs to be done to compete at this level and be able to finish?  Matt is now riding his bike more than 100 miles a week along with swimming almost daily at the Ephrata, PA Recreation Center and running the hills and valleys around his home.  
Matt, about 10:00 in the photo, shows off the winning trophy
with his high school swim team.  Taken from his Facebook Page.
On some days he swims or runs for about four hours while other days he will bike 80-100 miles.  The strenuous routine began almost half a year ago while he was still in the midst of coaching the Cocalico High School boys and girls swimming teams to the Section II title in the Lancaster-Lebanon League.  After last year's Iron Man competition he now realizes the problems that occur during a race of that magnitude.  
Another story published in the Ephrata Review talks about
Matt and is accomplishments.  Also from Facebook.
Food is a big factor during the day and he will try to get as many calories during his bike ride.  So why does he put his body through all of this?  He grew up in a very competitive and athletic family and he excelled in both football and basketball in high school as well as being a top-notch swimmer at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA.  After graduating from college, one of his swimming buddies talked him into trying a sprint triathlon in nearby Harrisburg, PA and the rest is history.  There are still plenty of miles that can be sponsored and if you care to sponsor one of Matt's many miles in the Ironman competition, check out http://www.schreiberpediatric.org and call to sponsor a mile.  The children who benefit from the services of the center will thank you for your contribution.  It was another extraordinary in the life of an ordinary guy.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The "Faces of Strangers #32" Story

Gary the plane man.
It was an ordinary day.  My grandson Caden and I were traveling around the country roads near his house when we discovered a few guys flying airplanes in a field about 100 yards off the road.  I could sense Caden's interest so I pulled into the stone driveway that wound back to the grassy area in the middle of a field filled with foot high corn.  We found about a half dozen guys, all probably retired gentlemen, sitting under a pavilion, taking turns flying their radio-controlled planes.  We got out of the car and headed towards the action.  One gentleman, Gary saw us approaching and walked to meet us.  Gary was filled with a wealth of knowledge about his club which purchased a few acres of land from a local farmer and had the farmer level the ground so they could plant the field with grass for their club which was named the "Mount Joy Radio Control Club." Caden and I both had many questions which Gary fielded with an easy to understand answer.  He spent about 20 minutes with us and then it was his turn to fly his plane.  His plane, which had a wing-span close to five feet across, cost him $2,000 to buy and assemble.  It was powered with a battery and he was able to have it take flight in about 10 seconds.  Each member tries to fly their plane from take-off to landing on top of a hat, placed in the middle of the grass, in exactly 3 minutes.  Distance from the hat, taking too little or too much time, or landing in the middle of the corn, all took off points from their score.  Gary's plane reached over 300 feet in no time and then he turned off the engine and put it into a free-fall glide.  Back and forth from one end of the field to the other.  Another club member was calling out to him at 15 second intervals until he reached the final 30 seconds when he heard them count in five second intervals with the final 10 second countdown.  As the clock his zero Gary's plane landed directly on the top of the hat!  He raced out to pick his plane up and headed toward Caden and me to invite us to an event the following weekend.  You could see and sense his enthusiasm and passion for his hobby and he wanted us to feel the same way.  Planes start at about $250 and he thought Caden would enjoy trying it some day.  Caden and I thanked Gary, waved to the rest of the group and sat in the car to watch one more plane fly their 3 minute routine.  This one landed in the cornfield and a half dozen guys reluctantly got out of their chairs to help the pilot find his plane.  Caden looked at me and said, "I wonder how they find the plane when the grass is taller than they are?"  Good question!  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The "Reading Between The Lines" Story

The Franklin & Marshall College field house
It was an ordinary day.  Reading one of the four Journal of the Lancaster County Historical Society phamplets that I just bought at the Friends of the Lancaster Public Library's book sale held at Franklin & Marshall College's field house.  Place is immense and the entire athletic floor is covered with table after table of books, vinyl records, LPs, CDs, DVD's and VHS tapes.  
This young girl came prepared for shopping big!
The library is hoping to raise $90,000 this year and will have to sell quite a few items, since most paperback books go for 50 cents. The fundraiser first began in 1956 when the American Association of University Women (AAUW) sold books in the basement of the Lancaster Public Library on North Duke Street in downtown Lancaster and raised $154.  The AAUW ran their final book sale in 1994 and raised $47,000 before turning over the reigns to the Friends of the Lancaster County Library the following year.  
Boxes of LP's for sale
The amount raised continued to grow with $90,000 raised last year.  This year there are 3,000 boxes of books for sale with each box holding approximately 40 books.  There are also 7,000 LPs for sale this year.  Paperback books cost 50 cents while hardback books go for $2.00.  Speciality books are all marked with a price inside the cover.  The journals I bought were all $2.00 while my wife purchased a few hardbacks and a few paperback novels. We visited the book sale on the second of three days during the early afternoon figuring there would be fewer patrons.  
A young Amish boy shops for just the right book.
Parking lot at the college was more than half filled with approxi- mately 200 or so patrons viewing the tables of items for sale.  The most expensive book for sale this year was "A Murder in Paradise," written by deceased Lancastrian Richard Gehman.  The hardcover book had a price tag on it of $275 and is about the 1950 murder of Marian Louise Baker by Edward Gibbs who was a WWII veteran and Franklin & Marshall College student.  We visited and walked the aisles for over an hour, I took a few photos and after paying for our purchases, we headed back to the car.  I'm sure my journals will help me in writing a few stories for future publication.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

Friday, June 19, 2015

The "Fence Surfing" Story

Fence Surfers prepare for takeoff of jet plane.
It was an ordinary day.  People are beginning to line up along the chain-link fence in anticipation of the large KLM four-engine jet that has pulled in place at the near end of the runway at Princess Julianna International Airport on the island of Sint Maarten.  As long as I can remember, pros and novices have given the sport of fence surfing a try at this airport.  
This photo I snapped a few years ago when the
sign was across the road from the runway.  A young
woman was injured while fence surfing and she
sued the airport.  Took the case to the Dutch Supreme
Court ….. and WON!  The sign has been changed and
attached to the fence to better warn the fence
surfers.  It doesn't seem to have had any effect
as seen by the above photo. 
Closeby stands multiple signs that declare: "Danger" Jet blast of departing and arriving aircraft can cause severe physical harm and/or death.  Sign doesn't seem to phase the fence surfers.  The daredevils weave their fingers through the fence which is located along the beautiful Maho white sand beach and attempt to absorb the jet blast from the huge KLM plane as it fires up its jet engines in an attempt to gain the necessary speed for take-off on runway 10/28 with its 7,546 foot tarmac.  A few years ago Carol and I watched as an unknowing Asian family attempted to carry their luggage across the beach as a 747 was attempting a take-off.  They had all their luggage blown from their grip into the Caribbean Sea.  Many attempted to retrieve their luggage for them, but I'm not sure they were able to achieve that goal.  Many hats of fence surfers have been washed out to sea during their fence surfing tries.  
The KLM preparing for takeoff along the fence.
But, perhaps one of the biggest accidents was caught on film a few years ago when a young woman was badly hurt when her intertwined fingers couldn't hold her weight and she was blown off the fence, across the nearby road, landing on the concrete curbing head first.  I have included the YouTube video showing what can happen to those who feel they can beat the 100,000 pounds of jet engine thrust that hit them square on while they flirt with danger in the sport that has been titled Fence Surfing.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

The young lady who was injured before she struck the curbing.
You can even purchase t-shirts that declare your passion for fence surfing.
People being blown towards the water from the jet blast.
Photo I took years ago of the Air France landing over Maho Beach.


Click on: Watch on YouTube to see the video