Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – August 28, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – August 28, 2004 – I can’t help but smile whenever I see a balloon. A bunch of balloons brings a bigger smile. There is something positive, funny and hopeful about balloons that is completely inexplicable.
Almost as if they have a life of their own. Now don’t go shaking your head and suggesting therapy for me – I know a balloon is just a rubber sack filled with air or helium. I’m not worried that a Balloon Protection Agency doesn’t exist or suggesting a memorial service for deflated ones.
Balloons have a long association with happy, celebratory times – congratulatory occasions, birthdays, parties, political rallies, fundraising evenings, anniversaries, graduations, weddings and special events. They come in every colour under the rainbow and can have humorous or endearing messages written on them. A bunch of balloons with “50” written all over them is the perfect gift to razz a friend on that milestone birthday – better still would be fifty balloons – maybe ‘black’ to signify the demise of their youth.
I only recommend this for someone not remotely concerned about their age. Otherwise I’d choose a more “festive” selection. I’d have loved a bouquet of fifty balloons when I passed the half-century mark. I had a wonderful, surprise party instead.
I was once at a late afternoon wedding. I can’t remember whose it was, but as the bride and groom were leaving the reception to go to the airport – dozens of white balloons with long white, blue and pink ribbons were released, in lieu of confetti. It was enchanting to watch them drift slowly up and away on the wind currents as the bride and groom waved good-bye.
I’ve sent balloons to friends over the years to acknowledge a special celebration and I’ve always had rave reviews for my gift. If you have helium added when the balloons are blown up – their buoyancy lasts for several days – and they stay around as a reminder of the happy occasion. It’s always fun to drive down a city street and see the proverbial wooden stork outside the home a new baby, announcing the happy arrival with either blue or pink balloons attached to his bill. What a fun way to tell friends and neighbours that “baby” has arrived.
I remember an early morning roller blade in the Beaches about five years ago. I was zipping along enjoying the warmth of the morning sun, when a blue balloon appeared out of nowhere. It dipped and rose on an air current and floated above me for about half a mile as I bladed along the path. Suddenly it soared skyward on a gust of wind and I stopped to watch as it disappeared from sight into the morning sky.
I wondered about that little, blue balloon all morning, and I smiled every time it crossed my mind. Whose had it been? How did it escape? How long did it last in the sky before its dance of freedom was ended? Maybe its mission that morning was to give me a reason to enjoy the day and it was certainly successful!
People have come to associate the closing night of the American Democratic and Republican National political conventions with the release of hundreds of red, white and blue balloons that fall to the floor after the last speeches have been delivered, and the “anointed” is standing on the stage waving enthusiastically to the converted.
The balloons float, dance and weave their way to the convention floor below. Well, that’s what is supposed to happen anyway. This year I was watching the closing night of the Democratic love-in when a few dozen balloons were released. There were supposed to be thousands and these few stragglers looked like a dozen bottles floating on the ocean.
Unbeknownst to the man in charge of the balloons he could be heard on air saying – “What is happening with the balloons – release the balloons – let the balloons go”. John Kerry and John Edwards et al were down below, swaying to the strains of a Bruce Springsteen tune, waving, grinning and giving the thumbs-up sign to the crowd.
The camera panned to the great nets above filled with thousands of anxious balloons, eager to do their part in defeating George Walker Bush. The balloon master was having no luck at all in rectifying the situation. In a fit of exasperation he blurted out, “Where in the fuck are the balloons?” This was heard by millions of people watching CNN on that June night – what a classic balloon moment!
I’m betting that you have a friend, neighbour, relative, parent, sibling, client or business associate who has a special event on the horizon. A bouquet of cheerful balloons is a terrific way to let the person know you’re thinking of them and wishing them well. They can be delivered by a balloon company at just the right moment.
If you try it yourself, you’ll probably start out with a Baker’s dozen and pop six of them on your way. Trust me – balloon wranglers know how to deal with these pesky little floaters, and they transport them in specially designed balloon vans. So pick up the phone and dial. Balloons get a smile every time. Go on – try it!