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The Balloon That Boosted Her Spirits

Just when she thought her hometown had nothing much to offer, up rose a colorful surprise.

By Kelly Gallagher, Middletown, New York

As appeared in

Middletown. The very name of my new hometown was average and unremarkable. Strip malls, fast-food joints and plain suburban houses lined Route 211, where I took an exploratory walk one hot, airless day.

It’s a perfectly nice town, Kelly, I reminded myself. You can’t expect life to be full of surprises at every turn.

But couldn’t I find a little something special about my surroundings? Just a touch of the unexpected to remind me that things aren’t always how they seem, that tiny miracles happen even in the most ordinary places, that anything was possible in this world where angels walk between heaven and earth all the time.

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Surprise me, Lord. I supposed that was my favorite prayer.

I’d walked for miles. There was nowhere else to go, nothing else to see. I started back home, my eyes focused on the sidewalk in front of me. It’s not like I’m missing out on anything, I thought.

A sudden, strong wind against my face made me look up. A bright hot-air balloon floated high over Middletown, like a fat rainbow angel among the clouds. I laughed out loud over the heads-up from God. Surprising things can happen anywhere. You just have to look for them.


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