Up, Up and Away

Keep it Real Wednesday

Up, Up and Away

April 28, 2021

For Rosemary’s 85th birthday (in 2011), we surprised her with a hot air balloon ride, something she always wanted to do.  She asked Nick, our 14-year-old son, to join her. We were excited about Nick and Rosemary sharing such a special experience.  Little did we know what was in store for them!

We arrived at the launch site early to watch the balloons inflate.  Rosemary was in awe, but I think she was getting cold feet. However, she saw the excitement in Nick’s eyes and decided to put her big girl pants on. The crew carefully helped her maneuver into the basket (which was no small feat at 85 years old) and soon afterward Rosemary and Nick were launched high into the air over Boise, with a bird’s eye view of the sun rising over our beautiful Treasure Valley.  

Wade and I, along with our friend Connie, followed the balloon in our cars as close as we could, not really knowing where it would land. Our goal was to be at the landing zone when they touched down to help Rosemary out of the basket.

About an hour into the flight, we could see the balloon starting to descend.  We stayed as close as we could, trying to anticipate the landing location.  A large soccer complex was nearby so we headed in that direction, assuming it would be a likely place to land.

We parked the car and walked towards the potential landing site. Just as they touched down, a sudden gust of wind pulled the balloon sideways and the basket landed parallel to the ground. The wind continued to drag the basket along the field until the landing crew could grab and hold the basket steady.  Our walk turned into a brisk run towards the landing zone as we pictured 85-year-old Rosemary sideways in the basket being tossed around along with our 14-year-old son.

We ran across the field as fast as we could, as time seemed to stand still.  The crew was able to stabilize the balloon and adjust the basket to an upright level again. Little did we know the crew was still anticipating another gust of ground wind, which could have propelled the basket yet again, so they acted quickly.  One of the crew members threw Rosemary over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry to get her out to safety.  Nick climbed out of the basket himself and was sticking close to Rosemary.

The pilot of the balloon was very apologetic and concerned about Rosemary. The pilot said gusts of wind, like this one, are rare but unfortunately do happen.  He was so concerned about Rosemary’s safety and well-being, but she just laughed and said, “I knew today was going to be memorable, but I didn’t know I would be carried over the shoulder by a handsome young man”.

All’s well that ends well, and that day ended with an exciting tale of adventure.

Rosemary had a great ride and one heck of a story to tell afterward.

The moral of the story is:  you are never too old to be tossed over a young man’s shoulder.  I think she loved that more than the balloon ride.

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