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Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta (or, shameless self-congratulations, or always change your underwear before leaving home)

I’m doing that silly, happy, smiley routine today. Sometimes it takes almost nothing to get that started, and this one’s poured over a cube of embarrassment. The Albuquerque Balloon Festival published my lame little spiel about attending the festival in 1994 in their most recent online newsletter — http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Balloon-Fiesta–September-2011-Newsletter.html?soid=1102585481276&aid=fzUtIaovVs0. There I am at “Linda’s Balloon Fiesta Memory,” right after “7 Tips to Keep You and Your Family Comfortable. . .”.

The embarrassment factor comes from sending the Festival this unbelievably bland, ho-hum, veritable missionary-position story about my trip. There’s no mention of the vaguely alarming footsteps I heard pacing the outside hallway of the slightly shady hotel where I stayed, or the speeding cartoon-car aspect of pursuing the trailer with gondola over midnight-dark roads with no idea what was around the next bend or of our final destination. And there’s also no hint of the eerie, sharp-edged lightning flashes of balloons appearing in the utter blackness for micro-seconds during Dawn Patrol, or the puppy-pile happiness of being on the field with hundreds of balloons and thousands of spectators while dodging ropes and fabric and pilots, or the jaw-dropping thrill on turning around, looking up, and seeing a flotilla of balloons silently sailing overhead at the final launch. I didn’t describe the unexpectedly cold early mornings, or being wide-eyed, alone, and independent among that huge throng of people, or how I managed to somehow lose a significant portion of the clothes I packed (I have absolutely no idea how that happened) and being forced to put on just about everything I had left to try to stay warm. I hardly got to tell them, or anybody who gets that newsletter, how worth it every last second of that festival was.

So, there’s the embarrassment — in writing, submitting that poor a tale is like being in a car accident, going to the emergency room, and having the doctor find you wearing Tuesday underwear on a Wednesday. Never submit anything but the best. And of course, always change your underwear.

#1. Dawn Patrol, from the Balloon Festival's website

 

Photo #2, from the Balloon Festival's website

Photo #3, from the Balloon Festival website. I know I said clowns are evil, but this one just looks pleasantly drunk.

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