This year my husband Wayne and I celebrated our 35th anniversary. It is hard to believe that many years have passed in our marriage. We feel blessed with family, friends, and many years together.
Last year my aunt and uncle celebrated their 70th anniversary. They have been married twice as long as we have. Now that’s an accomplishment! They have also been retired almost as long as I have been working… but that’s another story.
Our anniversary (August 12th) falls at a very busy time. For years we had children getting ready to go back to school during this same week. Not to mention me, the teacher, preparing for a new school start. This time of year my husband has two large meetings for his work, too. And my husband and daughter share the same birthday just four days later, August 16th.
So some years we have celebrated briefly, or at another time, or with a simple dinner out together. But ten years ago, on our twenty-fifth anniversary, we decided to do a little something more. We took a hot air balloon ride.
This was totally my idea, and that is ironic, since I am scared to death of heights. But it was something I had always wanted to do, and Wayne was excited about it too, so we decided to go for it.
I enjoyed reading Margaret’s description of her trip last week. I had forgotten some of the details of the set-up needed for lift off, but her words and pictures brought it all back to me. What I remember most are the feelings of nervousness, excitement, freedom and delight.
The lift off was smooth and seemed effortless. Our basket was large – there were three other couples, the pilot, and a friend of his – a total of ten people. Interestingly, two of the other couples were also celebrating anniversaries (although not as many years as us). One of them brought wine, cheese, and crackers to celebrate, and they generously shared with us all. The fourth couple made it a very special day – he actually proposed to her on the balloon ride! So it was a very happy day for us all.
As you know the balloon moves with the wind, so you as a rider, don’t feel the breeze. It seemed magical, rather wizard-of-ozish, to be moving so quietly above roads, houses, and fields. The familiar took on a new perspective when viewed from this angle. Given the choice, we decided to travel up, up, up, and saw our corner of the world from a mile high. And yet, not once was I ever afraid.
When it was time to land, our pilot chose a neighborhood near our home. As we descended, boys and girls came running, adults stared and waved, and we briefly felt like someone important as everyone nearby rushed to greet us. The mother of one of our daughter’s friends was working in her yard, and we called her name as we came down. She told her husband, “They know me!” and he just rolled his eyes – until she later said, “I told you they were calling my name.”
We had a great ride but it was all over too soon. I am thankful we had that adventure, though. It was a great way to celebrate the years together that have also flown by.