#10: Go hot air ballooning
I have decided that I couldn’t ask for a better friend than my husband. Was I thinking this when he woke me up at 4:30 AM this morning? Absolutely not. How about when we pulled into a still-dark Walmart parking lot somewhere in rural Virginia, at 6:30 AM? No way. Now, what about around 10 AM when we sat in the local Cracker Barrel, recounting our morning adventure and eating enough eggs, biscuits, french toast, and chicken fried chicken to feed a small town? Absolutely!
So what happened between 7 and 10 AM? My thoughtful, fun-loving, fantastic husband took me out for a surprise hot air balloon ride at sunrise over the Shenandoah Valley. Beat that, Bachelorette. The ride was thrilling and peaceful all at once and the setting was breathtakingly beautiful. We cruised along in the misty morning, looking down at the cows/horses/sheep/dogs/chickens scattering like chocolate chips across a cookie (hey, I was hungry up there!) The bottom of the basket holding the two of us, another couple, and our fearless pilot brushed gently across the tops of the trees, already beginning to turn flashy colors of orange, yellow, and red in the autumn chill. We floated along, up, up, and away.
That is, until we stopped floating, began to descend, and started looking around for a place to land. In my sky-high bliss I hadn’t really thought through how the landing would work. I knew someone was following us on land in a van to pick us up. But I didn’t realize that he was literally chasing us, trying to predict (as was our pilot) where we might touch ground. A large, rectangular field came into view and we were instructed to hang on to the ropes inside the basket. Those were our only instructions: hang on. He said we’d feel a slight jerk as we landed and then we’d be aground. And that is pretty much what happened. Except that the jerk was more like a massive lurch and we didn’t need to be told to hang on—all of us clung to the inside of the basket for dear life as we slid dozens of feet along the ground, tipped over, toppled onto one another and, finally, came to a stop.
Did I love my husband then? After that terrifying descent? Absolutely. Going up (and down) in that hot air balloon is the best new thing I’ve done by far. And I have to admit: I’m so glad he surprised me with it because there is no way I would have gotten in the car this morning if I had been given warning!
(By the way, new thing #2 of the day was that Cracker Barrel. I’ve never been in one and maybe it is a good thing . . . for my heart at least. I ate more butter, eggs, and sugar in one meal than I did all of last week, maybe all of last month. But it sure was delish!)
Lesson learned: Hang on tight and enjoy the ride.