February 6, 2006
Our Red BalloonRate this encounter: Amy Cordova, Maiden Rock, Wisconsin, 1983
After my parents divorce, my mother married a gentleman who owned a retirement "farm" near the Rush River, Wisconsin. They lived in Minneapolis but returned on weekends to visit the farm. In 1983, her companion died after a brief illness. It was a great blow to the family as mom and he had been so happy as companions.
A strange incident occurred about four months after his death. My son, (then almost 5 years old) and I went to the grocery store. At the end of the checkout line, it was the custom to give the little children a helium balloon. My son was given a red balloon and on the way home he stated that he was going to use his balloon to send "Grampa" a message telling him how much he missed him and to ask how heaven was.
When we got home, we sat down with pencil and paper. Since my son didn't write yet, he asked me to write the following to Grampa:
"Dear Grampa C., How is heaven? I miss you and love you." He then signed his name and asked me to add our phone number in case Grandpa wanted to call him. We put the note in a Baggie and tied it to the ribbon on the balloon. We set the balloon free in a nearby open field, safe from power lines.
Time passed and I forgot about the message. My son asked a couple of times whether I thought Grampa ever got his message? I responded that I was sure he had. About two weeks later, one evening, the phone rang. When I answered I recognized the voice of the man who was caretaker for the "farm." He asked if we had been out to the farm in the last week or so? I answered that, "No, we haven't been there... Why?"
He said, "The strangest thing happened the other day when I went to check the property. A red balloon was hooked to the gate. There was a Baggie tied to it and when I opened the Baggie I recognized your last name. The phone number was there... so I called. I thought you had been there and left the balloon."
I was flabbergasted. I could feel the hair on my arms stand up. It was beyond comprehension. I couldn't begin to imagine. But it is true. The distance from where we lived to the farm was more than sixty miles!
I called my young son and told him of the miracle of his balloon. He was unimpressed at the balloon's unbelievable, extremely accurate journey but so happy and pleased that Grampa had indeed received his "air mail" note. He took the finding of his balloon at Grampa's farm that Grampa was answering his message. "Yes, heaven was great!"
I have never forgotten the red balloon and many years later, I spoke to my Mother about it. She reminded me that her husband always referred to the "farm " as "my own little piece of heaven."