“The balloon seems to stand still in the air while the earth flies past underneath.” ~ Alberto Santos-Dumont ~
Many of you may not know hot air balloons are part of the BamaSteelMagnolia and Tall & Handsome lore. It’s like Bev and T & H: The Early Years…
I think I’ve divulged a time or two (much to my little Southern momma’s chagrin) how T & H and I met. We met over the internet…yes, now pick your chin up off the floor and hear the rest of the story as Paul Harvey would say. We didn’t meet in any sleazy chat room or on a dating website. No, we were even more unconventional. We met playing an online game (to those in the “know” a MMORPG).
So, for about a year we “courted” by playing the game, using instant messaging and eventually chatting on the phone. A date would go like this: we’d go to Blockbusters, rent the same DVD, fix the same thing for dinner (I taught him how to make low fat Rueben sandwiches over the phone), pop the DVD into the player and on the count of three, press “play” at the same time. We’d even have popcorn at the same time for intermission or between movies. Now how’s that for original thinking?!
I know, I know…every one usually goes, “Awwww, how sweet!”
Finally, T & H said, “Don’t you think it’s time we meet?’”
I agreed under one condition…T & H had to come to Alabama first to meet my family. I may have already been married once before and had a grown son, BUT I was still a Southern girl…and, that’s just the way you do things.
So, T & H made the trek to Alabama. I was working at the time and when I got off work my girlfriends from work thought I was crazy. They just knew I was letting an axe murderer into my home that evening. They just couldn’t understand how this grown woman was on the cutting edge of “relationship development’”…
I talked to T & H on my cell all the way to the airport that afternoon and once there hopped out of the old “lead sled”, that Park Avenue I hated, to welcome T & H to Alabama.
And, it was there in front of the Birmingham Airport that T & H kissed me under his Stetson. I felt like looking around to see if there were cameras hidden somewhere because I just knew I had to be living a Lifetime movie…if you are female you know what I mean, and you will also know what I mean when I say, I felt like I was 18 again!
It was a wonderful and whirlwind several days…and then, it was time for T & H to return to New Mexico. We didn’t know when we’d see each other again and it was a sad parting at the airport.
Then, T & H came up with a great idea. He invited me to the Albuquerque International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. It was an event near and dear to him. He had attended for several years and had been involved with the event. While working at Gateway Computers he had launched a successful drive that resulted in Gateway having their own cow spotted balloon that flew in the event for several years. T & H was on the Gateway balloon crew.
So, when I attended T & H had set up VIP passes and my Fiesta experience was done in style. It was an event that had been on my bucket list for years but, I never dreamed I’d be able to attend it as a VIP. Thanks to my T & H, it was a time I’ll never forget, down to the last night we were there and the fireworks display.
So, after T & H moved out here, there have been little opportunities for him to attend hot air balloon events…until this past Memorial Day weekend that is. I had discovered the Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic is held yearly in Decatur, Alabama at the Point Mallard Park on Memorial Day weekend. And, this weekend we had an extra special reason to go and celebrate. Dustin, our sweet “adopted” son was visiting. We were all ready for a new adventure.
It was a wonderful day for all of us!
Right before the “glow” that evening, many of the balloons inflated and tethered so people could queue up for a ride. Dustin jumped on that one and took advantage of it. I would have until I realized the gondolas didn’t have doors for entering and exiting. Oh, snap! If only they had stepping stools or something for those of us “physically impaired”. Well, guess what? No sooner thought than seen across the field, several of the balloons with steeping stools tethered to the gondola for just that purpose! Next year, another bucket list item will be marked off for me!
Dustin on his balloon flight
T & H didn’t queue up for a ride this year. He had taken many a flight in years gone by. He’s even experienced a bad landing when the gondola had a rough touchdown and was dragged for some distance…a landing you don’t soon forget according to him.
But, the hot air balloon flight is one you don’t forget so easy either. According to him since the balloon is going the same speed as the surrounding air current, you feel suspended or standing “still in the air while the earth flies past underneath”…
© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.