Many years ago, we held annual hot air balloon races right here in River City. The balloon races were included in an annual event called Scout World. I would get up at 5 a.m., drive to the air base, park outside the runway fence, and watch the balloons as they filled up with hot air. They looked like colorful mushrooms popping up in the distance. What a sight to see!
These big beauties would glide over the crowd as some of us would get into our cars to follow them. Sometimes they would fly so low that it was possible to have a very brief conversation with the people in the baskets. Watching them dot the sky all bright and colorful was breathtaking.
There were balloonists who would fly their balloons at other times, too. Their goal was to follow the river, but sometimes they got off track. You could hear them sailing overhead, their balloons making a big whooshing sound, and if you got outside quick enough you could wave and say “good morning” as they passed overhead.
Not being a daring gal, going for a hot air balloon ride is probably the most daring thing I would ever do … well, next to flying commercial again.
Now that I think about it, there was one daring thing I did ages ago when my boyfriend (at the time) was into skydiving. No, I did not jump out of an airplane, but I did go up with the team in a small airplane. The pilot tucked me in under what would have been part of the control panel and a second seat (these small airplanes were stripped down on the inside).
Being right by the door, I nearly fainted when it was opened because there was nothing there but the wide open spaces. I was tightly strapped in and clinging to whatever I could get my hands on, which I think was the pilot’s knee.
Each skydiver stood in the doorway to make his jump, and that was when something unexpected happened. As each skydiver was ready to leap into the air, each one gave me a kiss on his way out.
Back on the ground, I was literally lifted out of the airplane because my legs were shaking so badly I couldn’t walk. That was my first and last time going for a ride in a small airplane.
What I remember most about that day was how beautiful it was outside. Not a cloud in the sky perfect weather day; jeans and a red pullover sweater weather day; hair pulled back with a ribbon weather day; and, it was perfectly sealed with unexpected kisses.
© Catherine Evermore. All rights reserved.