Adventures in Ballooning
Sometimes, she saw squirrels packing away nuts and acorns for the winter. Sometimes, she saw trucks and cars racing super fast through the streets. And, some nights, she even saw zebras running and playing tag with elephants. Molly always started her stories to her mom with, "Last night, when I was flying in the sky ... " Her mom knew that Molly was just dreaming and using her imagination, though. Molly wasn't actually flying through the sky every night.
But, that didn't stop Molly from wishing she could fly. Every time she heard an airplane, she looked up and followed its path through the blue sky. She watched as it played hide-and-seek with the white, fluffy clouds. Molly taught her little sister, Charlotte, to watch for airplanes, too. She even taught Charlotte how say the word "airplane." Molly was proud that she was able to teach her baby sister things like that.
One day, Molly looked up in the sky and saw the most beautiful sight she'd ever seen. It was round, soft and the red, yellow, blue and green colors were so bright it appeared as if someone had painted them on a bright blue canvas. It looked like a giant balloon was floating in the sky.
And, it turns out, that's what it was. Molly asked her mom about it. "That is called a hot air balloon, Molly," her mom replied. "Those balloons are so big that people can ride in the baskets underneath. They can travel all over the world in them."
Molly was amazed. She had always thought riding in an airplane was the very best kind of travel possible, but now, she was sure that the most amazing way of traveling had to be by hot air balloon. She imagined drifting over trees and seeing the tops of houses. She fantasized about chatting with birds as they all floated in the air. She started drawing hot air balloons when she colored with crayons and drew with sidewalk chalk. She even pictured what kind of hot air balloon she would like to ride in. Her perfect one was always pink, of course, because that was her favorite color.
After that first sighting, Molly and her parents started seeing hot air balloons a lot. Mostly, they saw them when they were driving in their car. Sometimes, they would see as many as six traveling together. Molly would crane her neck as far as she could so she could see the balloons for as long as possible. It was usually only for a few minutes, though, because then they would disappear behind some tall trees. Molly wanted so much to see one up close.
One evening, as Molly was eating dinner on the back deck with her mommy, daddy and baby sister, Charlotte, they all heard a noise. It sounded like a whoosh and a roar. Her dad looked at her mom and said, "Is that what I think it is?" Her mom replied, "I think it is." Molly was confused. "What is that noise, Mommy?" Her parents shared a look, then Molly's dad said, "We think that sounds like a hot air balloon, Molly." "What?" asked Molly. Her dad explained, "Hot air balloons use a burner to heat the air inside the balloon. It's what makes them float. We think that sound is the sound of the burner."
Molly's eyes shone. If they could actually hear it, then that meant the hot air balloon had to be close. She ran around the deck trying to see it. She couldn't see it. Then, she and her mom ran out to the front of their house to see if they could see it. They still couldn't. Molly was sad. She really wanted to see the hot air balloon. Then, her dad had an idea. "Do you want to go on an adventure to try to find the balloon, Molly?" he asked her. "YES!" she shouted. Molly ran to the car and buckled herself into her car seat before her parents could change their minds.
They all piled in the car and drove out of the neighborhood in search of the hot air balloon. Molly's mom thought they should go left, but her dad was driving, and he thought they should go right. They drove and drove for what seemed to Molly like hours, but was actually only about five minutes. Finally, when they'd driven in a big circle and were headed in the direction Molly's mom had first suggested, they caught sight of the top of the balloon. It was landing in the field behind the library right by their house.
Molly's dad quickly pulled into the parking lot, and they all jumped out of the car. Molly started running toward the most glorious sight she'd ever seen. It was so BIG. She couldn't get over it. She had to bend her neck all the way back to even see the top. It was striped with red, and green, and blue, and yellow, and yes, even pink. Molly was in awe.
When they got up close to the balloon, they saw some of their neighborhood friends there. They had also heard and seen the balloon and rushed to see it. Molly got to watch as the balloon owners slowly deflated the balloon and folded it up into a small bag. Then, the people who owned the balloon were nice enough to let Molly and some of the other neighborhood kids get into the basket to see what it would be like to ride in one. They even gave Molly a special card with a picture of the balloon on it, so she would always remember that day. Molly was so happy. She ran and played and gave high fives. She couldn't remember being this excited.
After the balloon was all packed up, Molly, her parents and Charlotte headed home. Molly sighed contentedly in the car. "That was the coolest thing ever, Mom," Molly said. Her parents looked at each other and smiled.
That night, Molly snuggled into her bed with her blanket in one hand and her other hand clutching the card the balloon owners had given her. Molly just knew that tonight she was going to have wonderful dreams of flying through the sky, floating in the giant hot air balloon. And, she couldn't wait to go to sleep and find out what she would see.
|An amazing sight!|
|Molly running toward the hot air balloon.|
|Posing with the balloon as it deflated.|
|With a bunch of neighborhood kids.|
|Molly was so excited.|
|Molly taking a turn sitting in the basket.|
|And, posing with Lauren in the basket.|
|Molly was so, so happy.|
Special thanks to Hot Expectations, the ballooners who were so kind to all the children. They patiently let them oooh and aaah, and even let them sit in the basket. They gave Molly such a thrill!