LOCAL FOLKS – A taste for adventure: At 60, grandmother soars ‘on wings like eagles’

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

NEW ALBANY – Dianne Foster has a lengthy list of “don’ts.”
Caves are off-limits because she gets claustrophobic, and she doesn’t like to fly commercial airliners because they don’t give out parachutes.
“I won’t go snow skiing,” she said. “I’m not going to go in the ocean. I would not go on a cruise overnight.
“The movies, ‘Titanic’ and ‘Jaws,’ did it for me. I don’t want to be on the 10 o’clock news.”
Even with all that, this grandmother is an adventurous woman.
She’s climbed steep rocks, rafted rivers, jumped from planes – with parachutes – and done daring deeds that have made grown men weep.
In honor of her 60th birthday a couple of months ago, she flew on a hang glider. Foster and the hang glider’s pilot were pulled up to 2,000 feet by an ultralight aircraft.
“It’s more unsettling going up. I wasn’t scared, but it was a bumpy ride,” she said. “They cut the cord from the ultralight, then it’s real quiet and peaceful.”
The flight reminded Foster of her favorite Bible verse, Isaiah 40:31.
“I was looking around at everything and thinking, I’m up here with the eagles now,” she said.
The outdoors has been a playground for the New Albany native since childhood.
“We didn’t have the toys and things all of the kids have now,” she said. “I played in the woods all the time. We would get on limbs that were low to the ground and ride them like horses.”
Her love for nature took a jolt when she was tested for multiple sclerosis near her 40th birthday. Deep thinking occurred, as she awaited the results.
“I loved to do outdoor stuff, but what if I was in a wheelchair?” she said. “I decided that on my birthday each year, whether the test is positive or negative, I’m going to do something. I’m going to do what I want or what I can.”
The test came back negative, and Foster kept her promise.
For her 40th, she went on a 10-day Outward Bound excursion where she gained new respect for forks and clean water.
She went bungee jumping at 41, jumped out of an airplane at 42, went hang gliding at 43, and went skydiving again at 44.
“I took a break because I have four grandsons,” she said. “From age 45 to 49, we just survived the day.”
At 50, it was back to Outward Bound, and you know about the hang gliding trip, where she soared like an eagle at 60.
The world is filled with things Foster will never do.
At the same time, you never know what she might do.
“A lot of people retire and say they’re going to do what they want to do,” she said. “Some of them don’t know what they want to do when they retire. Some of them don’t live to do what they want to do. Some aren’t able to do what they want by then. That’s why I say, ‘Why wait?’”
scott.morris@journalinc.com