It was 4:30 am, again for the second day in a row. I quickly turned off the soft alarm I set the night before and slid quietly out from under the blankets. I tip toed as softly as I could to the kitchen to call. As the phone rang, I crossed my fingers. “Please be today, please be today” like a record playing in my head. Swiftly, the man confirmed my hopes. It would be today.
I scampered back to the bedroom, quick with anticipation. I jumped on the bed, waking her up, squealing “get up, get up, get up!” She looked confused, appropriately so, in the still dark predawn moment. Before she could rub the sleep out of her eyes, I finally let her in on the long awaited secret. We were going on a sunrise hot air balloon ride.
We drove towards San Marcos to some open fields about an hour from where we lived in San Antonio. As we pulled into the gravel lot, we noted various multicolored limp balloons sprawled across the ground. Part of the experience was helping to inflate the hot air balloons. We followed their instructions, holding up sides of the bulky material, righting the baskets, and the likes. As the sun started its journey across the sky, we were on our way up. Up, up, and up.
We glided over pastures with Herefords munching, seemingly unheeded by our presence. We caught our reflection in small creeks and ponds, marveling at the beauty of the Texas hill country. As we floated back down to reality, we were greeted with glasses of champagne to celebrate the long awaited adventure of hot air ballooning. It was spectacular, and otherworldly, a perfectly fitting birthday gift for my darling wife.