The pink balloon

The other day while riding my bike I kept seeing this pink balloon. As if it were following me, it seemed to get stuck on a tree, then it would reappear.

Where did land?

In elementary school, our teacher got us to write messages in balloons, and we released them.

Like letters to the sky.

When they ran out of gas, we hoped, someone would read the messages and write to us. I imagined they would go very far, like to Kansas. I imagined another child, like me, standing in a field waiting on a balloon to float down.

But come to find out, most of the balloons just made it across the river to Alabama. I think one got to Mississippi.

In today’s targeted electronic messaging–from email to Facebook to Twitter–we get to choose the audience, for the most part.

Today I am nostalgic for a lone pink balloon, whose course I cannot control and who might land in the hands of one waiting on a message from the sky.

Here’s to the woman who gave birth to me!

On the day when we’re feeling all schmaltzy about our mothers, here are the Top Ten attributes of my mom (according to me):

1) She is really funny, without trying to be.

2) Way before recycling was cool, she was into it. One time I was about a mile from home on a weekend trip from college and I saw this woman picking up trash and aluminum cans on the side of the road. That was my mom.

3) Growing up, we went to my grandmother’s house in Alabama about every other weekend. She and my grandmother and my great-aunt entertained themselves after lunch by throwing sticks into pecan trees to knock down the pecans. Then they would crack the pecans. Of course I used to think that was lame, but now I look back with nostalgia.

4) Her inquisitiveness. A retired reference librarian, Momma kept up with lots of local history for many years. One of these days she’s going to crack some cold cases she’s long tracked.

5) Her generosity. Among other things she gives away, vegetables and greens from her garden make their way all around town.

6) Her open mind and heart. She doesn’t meet a stranger. A voracious reader, she is exceedingly open to new thoughts, people, beliefs and ideas.

7) Her courage. I avoid talking politics like the plague. For me it’s too divisive. Mom has been known to walk up to complete strangers with opposing views (judging by their campaign buttons or bumper stickers) and engage them in conversation.

8) Her resourcefulness. If one of us was sick (my dad, brother or me), she would concoct something in her blender that was very healthy. Of course it tasted nasty but usually made us better. For awhile I called her “Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman.”

9) Momma is a news junkie. Now that I am out of the news business, she will call or email with something she and my dad have been following. Themes are abducted children, or women who get their ankles sliced by men hiding under their cars at the mall. I reassure her that I despise going to the mall.

10) Her patience. She’s been married to Hugh Kennedy for nearly 49 years, after all.