A Weekend in Life

Bill Meadows, involved in that flight 50 years ago, and Kristie Darling, balloon pilot and crew chief to her pilot husband Charles Page

It began in Friday afternoon. It was the 50th anniversary of the first hot air balloon flight in our county. I know most places may not even calculate a thing, but it’s a big deal here. Especially to me and my friends. It was envisioned as being a brief presentation of the first balloon ride with one of the guys who was on that flight, but weather didn’t cooperate. Instead of a contingent of balloons taking of, the only balloon that flew was a helium balloon we call a pibal (it shows wind direction and speed.)

Hopefully the weather at the 75th celebration will be a bit better.

My niece Sara is second to the tight on the second row.

Saturday morning I took part in Out of the Darkness, a walk to raise awareness for suicide prevention. I’ve written before of losing my great nephew to suicide, as well as my cousin and several friends, so prevention is something important to me. While the weather the day before had been in the high 90s, Saturday morning brought grey skies and cool temperatures. I’d been calling the walk “the suicide walk” and truly driving over I felt a bit weary. My niece Sara, the mother of my great nephew, reminded me that it was not to be a depressing thing but a time of hope. Yeah, I knew that.

Some of Sara’s contingent. We lasted longer than most. There was a crowd of other people early on. We didn’t count laps well, but wanted to make sure our two miles were done!

It was hard not to feel that hope with the people who surrounded us. Several of Sara’s friends and their families showed up to walk with her. She was able to share a bit of her story with media, and represent parents who had lost children to suicide in the program. I’m proud that she has been able to articulate so much of what she feels on an ongoing basis. Like me, she writes her thoughts…though her medium is usually Facebook. She has tried to support other parents who have lost children or who have children who are struggling. I’m proud of the work she has done.

And then there was Saturday night. I went to a concert featuring Bing Futch, a wonderful musician from Orlando (who our town got to know from his appearances at our local hot air balloon festival, Carolina BalloonFest) and a blues duo from Asheville called Roots and Dore. It was a fun night of blues….and other types of music that Bing always throws in. I’m adding in a couple of videos with the disclaimer that there were quite a few heads between me and them….and I was in the middle and not wanting to stop over people! But you know I love to share our local music scene. We’ll see Bing again in a couple of weeks at Carolina BalloonFest.

All in all, we celebrated history, a better future, and the joy of the present. Not bad for a weekend, is it?

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