Most people fortunate enough to live into their 70s are content to celebrate each passing birthday with a minimum of fanfare.
That's not what James Brasher, retired Brownwood school educator, has in mind.
Brasher, who will turn 73 on Dec. 31, plans an "extreme" experience to celebrate - even though sometimes the timing doesn't exactly coordinate with the actual birthday.
After celebrating his 72nd birthday with a jump out of an airplane, Brasher has marked his 73rd birthday with several laps around Texas Motor Speedway thanks to the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
"I try to stay busy, and not act like I'm 73," Brasher said this week. The drive was taken earlier this year.
When he turned 70, he took a cold weather water skiing outing at Lake Brownwood.
The parachute jump in 2010 was from a height of 10,500 feet, Brasher said, and he was the first person out of the airplane. He was in a group of jumpers linked to an experienced skydiver, and a solo skydiver followed tihem and took pictures. After the ripcord was pulled at 5,500 feet, the photographer continued his free-fall until the last possible moment, and landed in time to take pictures of Brasher's landing.
"There's not much of a sense of speed when you're falling," Brasher said of the skydive. "But you do have a sense of speed in a race car.
After an indoctrination run with a Richard Petty driver, Brasher said he drove several laps and averaged 128 mph.
"I want to do it again," Brasher said, "and take more laps."
What does he have planned for an encore?
"I'd like to try a zip line or maybe a bungee jump," Brasher said.
During his career in education in Brownwood schools, Brasher said he did almost everything, from diving a bus to working in administration. He started his career as an elementary school teacher before becoming principal at Northwest for 17 years. He also worked at South and East elementary schools before accepting positions at the middle school and central office. He retired in 2003.