Send up the balloons. And that is just what we did today. We sent up a total of four balloons to the heavens today.
My son helped pick the colors and the meanings of each. A gold one was sent up to our dog, Silly girl, who we lost late last year before thanksgiving. It took off fast like she was reeling it up to her.
The second was a green balloon . It was for all of the victims and survivors of both 9/11 and hurricane Katrina. Green was for new life and hope renewed like the coming of spring. We could see that one for a very long time until it disappeared ever upwards.
Next, I sent up a white one for my Uncle Hodge who past away down in Alabama a couple of years ago. I know, two years is a long time to wait. I think of him often as he was a kind and gentle man. His soft spoken voice and slow southern drawl had a way of making a person slow down and enjoy just being. Hodge was the Grandfather that I never knew. It was he that first taught me to shoot with a sixteen gauge, bolt action shotgun. My Grandfather had won it back in the forties at a turkey shoot.
I still remember him taking me out through the corn field, pecan orchard, cow pasture and down to the swamp through the woods. Climbing into an old Jon boat to go fishing with the shotgun to kill water moccasin's should one get to close. Water moccasin's were all over the place there. Why, they even hung from the trees around the water. I can't forget the cotton mouths that were abundant in there also.
Buzzards lived out there and one vomited into our boat while we sat there fishing.
Hodge even would let me drink beer as long as Grandma didn't find out about it. It was our secret because Grandma was a Baptist and would have given us what for. They were glass pony millers that came in an eight pack back then. Oh, I never got drunk because it was just two at a time.
Hodge taught me also, to drive a pickup truck with three on the tree. We'd go out in the pecan grove and he'd let me drive it around. He told me to go faster and spin 'er around to get the feel for it. When he felt, after a couple of weeks, that I was good enough with it; he would let me drive down to the little country store. I even took a man down that way to get him some gas when his jeep ran out in front of the farm. The local sheriff had seen me before when he was sitting at the store on a bench sipping a coke. And, again when I was on another run to the store. Back then it was common for kids to run the farm pickups to the store for their family errands. The Sheriff would just nod at you or wave. No big deal over there then as long as you weren't being stupid.
The forth balloon was another white one my wife and son let go together. It was for anyone in need they said, as it floated away, dipping down, then catching a breeze and going up as we watched. It moved around almost as if it was laughing with the joy of freedom. Kind of like a child running and jumping on a playground full of life.
My wife stood on the porch and my son and I sat together on the front steps in silence just watching and remembering the ones that we have lost. Happy in the fact to have had them in our lives, but sad that they are no longer with us in body.