Mysterious Ways: Happy Balloon Day

I was dreading my 65th birthday, until I got an unexpected gift…

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- Posted on Sep 4, 2012

a balloon flying in the sky

​This was one birthday I definitely felt like ignoring. Sixty-five. Officially a senior citizen. Entering those golden years that once had seemed so far away. I wasn’t ready to be a geezer.

That morning nothing seemed right. The annual local gospel music festival my wife, Sarah, and I host on our property had been an organizational nightmare. And now, as I returned home from a long day of work on a dairy farm, I noticed that the wire fence I had repaired just the night before had broken again.

Of all the…. I braked my truck and climbed out, mumbling under my breath. Better fix it now, I thought. Don’t want the cows getting any ideas. I fetched my tools from the truck. Boy, this has been some birthday, I told myself.

For ten minutes I set about repairing the wire. Then, taking a moment’s break, I looked up. Something was moving across the field and down the meadow. One of our heifers, working its way loose through a second hole in the fence? I hoofed it across the field, my mood growing dark, expecting the worst.

As I drew closer to the fence, I realized it was too small to be a heifer. A gust of wind blew, and whatever it was took flight, landing in the branches of a tree.

Is it some kind of bird? I wondered. The way it moved, it seemed like it was caught. Maybe it’s hurt, I thought. I inched closer, not wanting to spook it.

And then I realized what it was. A Mylar balloon, tangled in the branches. What a capper for my birthday, I thought. The last thing I needed to deal with was litter. I picked up a stick and began poking at it to knock it loose.

Finally, the string on the balloon came down low enough for me to reach it. I pulled the string... and nearly leapt out of my shoes when music began to play.

I recognized the tune. The birthday song. On the side of the balloon, in bright colored letters, were the words, “Happy Birthday.”

Maybe being 65 wasn’t too bad. Like the balloon, it’s a gift from on high.

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