Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Not by me, thank the Lord - but by one of my fellow residents at The Grand Court. Here is Betty Bohn (bone), realizing a life-time ambition, to soar in a balloon, now, on her 81st birthday:

She didn’t do it by herself, no sirree. We were there, along with Betty’s family, and about a dozen Residents and Staff of The Grand Court. That is, we all gathered together in our front reception lobby, with our coats/sweaters, in case the weather got cold. No rush.

The bus was scheduled to leave between 3:15 and 3:30PM. Several of us had gathered in the Front Lobby waiting to get on the bus. Timi, our Intrepid Activities Director went to the back parking lot to bring around the bus. Long pause…….no bus arrived.

Shortly, Timi came to the lobby from inside, and announced a short delay. The bus gearshift somehow came off in her hand, as she tried to put it in gear. Couldn’t get it to engage again.

She said “not to worry”, and mentioned that she and Judy Falloon, our Marketing Director, were working on borrowing a bus from The Sterling House, a sister facility also belonging to Brookdale Living, which is the umbrella corporation with several similar facilities in the US. Sterling House is 4 or 5 blocks down Middle Urbana Road.

Great idea, except that Sterling House announced that recently, their bus had been driven under a canopy too low for the bus, and that it was stuck there.

Judy and Timi worked for 30 minutes or so, to get another bus.

Finally, someone suggested that we could maybe take 3 or 4 private automobiles - “piling us all in”, for the ride to Pickerington, just east of Columbus. Several cars were volunteered.

Then, Timi remembered that it is the Policy of Brookdale Living that, for safety and legal reasons, NO RESIDENT is to be placed in a private automobile for any outing.

Makes sense, from the liability standpoint.

The two ladies worked for another 15 minutes or so, to find a solution.

The final deal: Betty’s family will pick her up, while Timi and another Staff Member would drive separately, to provide coverage of the event, and some of the pictures shown here. I had planned to take my own pictures for this, as well as a possible video of the whole shebang.

Not to be!

Betty was loaded into her family’s car; Timi and Staffers Donna Holbrook and Judy Falloon took off in Timi’s car, and these pictures are the result. I found out the next day that staff member Judy Roberts was there also.

An interesting thing is: there were no “cry babies” in the group who had not been permitted to go.

We all agreed that the old Quaker saying, “It’s better to mind the checks, than to go off on your own”, was in play here. That is, a “check in the spirit”, like an unforeseen obstacle in the way, MIGHT be sufficient reason to “back off” from the project. One of the residents said that she would rather wait here, than have to wait along the road, or even in Columbus, AFTER a breakdown.

That’s what we did.

We all sang Happy Birthday to Betty one more time before she left, and we bid the two car loads Godspeed. And, I’m told, as the balloon started to ascend - with her in it - those on the ground sang it for her again.

Now, the next day, we discovered that Timi had taken 102 photos of the event, along with a separate video. I suggested a Town Meeting of all the residents, where Betty and Timi could narrate all the pictures, and we would watch the video also.

We’ll see.

Here’s a montage of several (not 102) of the pictures - before, during, and after the ride.:

Balloon starting to fill up with hot air:

Patiently waiting (Daughter with her.):

Family waiting:

Don’t panic! It’s how they get the balloon to fly:

Inside the basket:

Up, up, and away!

Thar she blows!

Actually, far away from the High Tension wires:

Up and down, but never real low:

Coming lower:

Coming down:

45 minutes from the start, nearly down:

Grab the basket!

Back to the walker - SAFE AND SOUND!

Here‘s all of our group who attended, with the family. (Except Timi, who took the picture.)

Now we learn that they couldn’t ascend from the original location, but rather, several miles south. And, for the “ground crew” (family, etc.) to follow, it took them over some rather treacherous back roads. Who knew where the darn thing would go?

The ride lasted 45 minutes, and to Betty, it was the thrill of a lifetime. We other residents wanted to share it with her, but it was not to be.

All 102 of these pictures will hopefully be seen by all of us, narrated by Betty and Timi, as well as a video of the whole thing.

For the rest of us who didn’t get to go, we can remember what the Chicago Cubs fans have said for over 100 years: “Wait ‘til next year!”

Here’s Timi, our photographer, and Intrepid Activities Director, up close:


kelly said...

I was on the edge of my seat through this story. How thrilling!
Happy Birthday to Betty!

kelly said...

You know that when I first read the title, my heart dropped. "Surely he would have told me he was doing this", I thought. I scrolled down quickly. Shew!!!

Grandpa Mike said...

Oh Kelly! You KNOW I would let all the family know. And, how did you know that I had posted this early? You check it all the time, don't you?

I check yours, and Molly's and Paige's EVERY DAY - sometimes two or three times.

Love, Grandpa