As my aunt and I were leaving Houston to head toward Galveston today, she stopped at the Dollar Tree, handed me two dollars, and send me into the store to pick out a "something special." The item I was to buy was a balloon. There were no rules about which balloon I chose. It could be a happy birthday balloon for me cos we were celebrating my birthday on this trip to Galveston. It could be a bright smiley face cos we were also celebrating the memory of my mother--my aunt's sister--on this trip. It didn't matter what I chose.
I walked over to the balloon area and reached up to grab the "passel" (get it?) of balloons and looked 'em all over carefully. There was a congratulations balloon. There was a birthday balloon or two--and one even had the princesses on it! There WAS even a smiley face balloon, and I was considering it seriously when my eyes landed on the PERFECT balloon--a bright shiny yellow star. Only those who know my mother will understand the significance of this balloon and realize how PERFECT it was. My mother's signature always had a moon and star just behind the last "E" in "Pattalee." (kinda like i have a smiley face over the last "E" in my name. Once I saw the yellow star, there was NO OTHER BALLOON.
Needless to say, I purchased the balloon with my aunt's money and we were on our way to Galveston. We chatted all the way there about this and that and finally made it into town and were first in line at the Ferry!
We made it over to Boliver Point and to a beach where we intended to let the balloon drift off into space, hopefully being found by some stranger somewhere who would read the notes we taped to its strings. We each wrote a note. I think i forgot to tell you that fact earlier.
My aunt wrote a cute note which said the following:
8/3/2010 Galveston Bay
I am "tourist" here today and sending this balloon up to my Sister. If you find it and call, you'll get a treat. :) Angie (xxx) xxx-xxxx.
I didn't realize hers was going to be so light-hearted! I wrote a serious note, to my Mother--though I knew she couldn't read it. I said:
Did you know I just celebrated 41? That means it has been nearly 8 years that you've been gone. I miss you, ya know and often have questions I wanna ask you.
I want to say thank you. So much of what is best about me came from you--except, of course, the things which are best about me which came from Daddy. :) Things are well and I'm really looking forward to the best part of my life. I wish you were here to enjoy it with me--to help me edit what I write and to laugh, and to sing, and to be silly. I love you and miss you.
P.S. if you find this--give me a call--->whomever find this! (xxx) xxx-xxxx
My aunt was totally prepared. She had 3 x 5 cards in neat colors, two pens, a sealable plastic bag so the cards wouldn't get wet, and tape with which we could tape our cards to the balloon.
We arrive at the beach about 4:00 in the afternoon and I got out to let the balloon go. I did and was astounded to see it go right back over my head and toward the ground. The wind was blowing enough that it kept going slowly--about five inches off the ground--away from the ocean and back toward the beach houses and patches of long grass. It had gone just a bit when my aunt told me to go catch it. I began to run after it--and the wind picked up! It was like my own special comedy of errors. (I think because it was meant for Mother, there almost HAD to be some funny, crazy thing occur. At her memorial service when we spread her ashes--the wind picked up at just the right moment--and a few of her ashes came back and landed right on us!)
So, here I was chasing this "hello Mother" balloon back up the beach. Since it had a head start, the balloon soon ended up rolling its way through the long grasses--getting stuck and freeing itself just before I got there--several times. Finally, I caught it and my aunt tried to lighten its load by cutting off the enormous amount of string affixed to its bottom.
We tried again. And it got stuck in the grasses again! Finally, my aunt and I decided to cut off the notes and drive over to the houses which backed up to the Intercoastal Waterway. This time when I let it go, the balloon immediately soared into the sky and was up, up, and away! It flew up there so quickly and we soon lost sight of it. It was a neat moment--my aunt and I sitting in her car watching the balloon we bought to celebrate my mother disappear into space. I'm really glad we did this little "something special." It made me happy. And, though I love and miss my Mother very much--what made me even happier is that--finally--I didn't cry.