The New Jersey Festival of Ballooning is really something to see! Hundreds of hot air balloons fill the evening, summer sky. The sinking, orange sun chases the baby blue away until indigo dyes the horizon.
The first hot air balloon ascension I ever saw was in New Mexico. Hubby and I were hiking in Santa Fe when we heard about a Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque. We’d need to drive an hour or so to get there. The balloons were to ascend at 6 am. Our plan was to leave before the crack of dawn.
Right before hitting the road, we stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts. Caffeine was essential at 4:30 am! Who did I see but three men sitting at the counter wearing cowboy hats. Not so unusual for New Mexico. They were also wearing chaps. Hmm, seemed like real leather. And cowboy boots with spurs? I hadn’t seen anyone wear spurs since my brother was a little kid.
Hon, do you know me at all? I was itching to introduce myself and ask what the heck those men were doing at Dunkin’ Donuts in chaps and spurs at 4:30 am! I was practically jumping out of my seat and I hadn’t even had half a cup of coffee yet!
You want to know what Hubby said to me? He said, “You’re crazy! Don’t bother those men!” But I kept craning my neck to get a better look at those spurs!
“Fine,” Hubby said. “Do what you want, but don’t involve me. In fact, I’m going to pretend I don’t even know you.”
It could be the writer in me, the kid in me, or who-knows-what, but I sauntered over to those three men, hanging over their steaming hot cups.
“Hi,” I said. “I’m from New Jersey and I’ve never seen anyone in chaps and spurs. Do you mind telling me where you’re going?”
Those nice men lifted their tired eyes from their coffee and told me how they’d been camping in the desert for several days, how they’d ridden up from Albuquerque, and how their horses were in the parking lot. Did I want to see their horses just as soon as they’d finished their coffee? I’d definitely never seen horses in a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot before. “Yes, I’d like to see them, thank you very much!” and “If I send you a copy, can I take a picture?”
Guess who decided to join our friendly conversation? Hubby. We compared the landscape of the Southwest to the Northeast, described what Manhattan looks likes, and talked about lots of other stuff.
I don’t know what thrilled me more. Meeting those Albuquerque Cowboys or watching hundreds of hot air balloons inflate and rise to the sky.