The temperature gauge in my car read ICE when I got in; the obligatory shiver ran down my spine. When I arrived at Starbucks at 5:01a, Maida already had two venti coffees in her hands. Searing hot. This woman meant business! The coffee turned into my proverbial campfire I warmed my hands over. As soon as the caffeine hit our bloodstream, we trekked to the park where 500+ balloons were preparing for the final day.
Balloons have decorated our southwestern sky for the past two weeks. While Autumn may be signaled by the technicolor trees or the faint (but mouth-watering) smell of chile roasting, there is nothing like waking to frost on your windows and hot air balloons traversing through the sky. To me, it is officially Autumn.
To my delight, when my future Mother-In-Law (MIL?) asked if I’d join her at the balloon fiesta, I could barely contain my excitement! But of course!
- While I’ve been here for two years, the fiesta is the only thing that’s romanced me enough to repeat. Last year my bestie joined me for the festival and she and I literally ran the field to try and capture the 500+ hot air balloons. (There is no blue-ribbon for sprinting at the festival.) This year was a graceful trot in comparison.
Coffee transformed both of us into chatty Cathys and it wasn’t long before I was yakking her ear off about the move, the Holidays, the wedding, my best friends and my family. Was there anything I didn’t tell her?! Apparently I needed to talk about everything under the sun. Apparently she didn’t really mind (thankfully).
Strolling through the throng of people, I would start to wander (much align to an eight year old. oooh pretty colors!). Maida saw me squat, jump and get closer to the fire than really one should just for a picture. I went to art school for a reason, right?
Hours passed by in an instant and it wasn’t long before we were craving more than pretty sights; we needed food! Maida’s brother-in-law scored us VIP tickets to the best Mexican food available with free hooch. Familiar faces greeted us at the restaurant when a few of Robbie’s Aunts and Uncles appeared. Surprise family reunion!
With full bellies and warm hearts we trekked around for more beauty and eventually one yawn turned to two. It was time to head home for a nap.
We walked past a parking lot and past another two when it dawned on me: I had no idea where I actually parked. Great, Nelson. My MIL laughed it off and said there is no harm in walking. So we walked… and walked… and walked…
The panic button was one step away from being permanently jammed in hopes of finding the lost SUV. We trekked over a mile examining dirt for possible clues.
“We did walk in a dirt path for a while…” I trailed.
“But we had to cross a big dirt mound,” Maida retorted.
Turns out, my future MIL was right and we DID have to cross a giant dirt mound over a mile away from the festival.
We left the festival grounds and starting planning our next adventures for Thanksgiving and Christmas (to Christmas music, no less.) I may have briefly lost my car but I found a new friend with my future mother-in-law (awwwwwww). By the time I got home, I fell into an elated slumber and upon waking discovered something new about myself.
I apparently sleep on my hand. Thanks for the heads up, stamp.