Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
||Of Boys and Red Balloons....
Of Boys and
all started when I walked into Wal-Mart and found that the store
had sprouted a forest of helium balloons overnight. I was an
easy mark and quickly joined the hoards of impulse buyers.
Who could resist the shinny dancing globes?
“I must have one,” I thought. “No, I must have two,
one each of my grandchildren.” I felt rather silly in the
checkout line with two balloons floating over my basket, but after
all, the balloons were for sale. How else could you buy one?
I’ve never been able to figure out just how they get the helium
in those silvery mylar balloons. They seal them closed and fastened them to
the string with a plastic clip. The balloons are then anchored
with a plastic disk on the opposite end of the string, making them too heavy to
float away if the young owner lets go of the string.
The balloons floated around cheerfully in the car as I drove home.
One was bright metallic red and the other was pink with X’s and
O’s decorating it. They were so pretty I was almost sorry I
didn’t get one for myself.
My granddaughter is only five months old, and I knew this would be
her first balloon. Babies like looking at bright objects.
I knew she would become excited when she saw it and smile her
“Who are those balloons for?” asked my grandson when I drove
up in the driveway, already anticipating my answer.
“One is for you and one is for your baby cousin.”
“Can I have the red one?” He eagerly claimed his prize and I
went inside the house. It was hardly any time at all until I heard
screams of anguish. Oh, no, what’s wrong? I went to check
and found my grandson holding an empty string and looking skyward.
The sting had come loose from the balloon and it had zoomed away
to freedom in the upper stratosphere. He sobbed helplessly
as he watched it go higher and higher.
Promises were made to replace the balloon with another just like
it. After all, it wasn’t his fault that the balloon detached itself from
the string. Another trip to Wal-Mart, another balloon purchase, and smiles
were restored. Unbelievably, however, the second balloon also failed to
survive. It too escaped its string and a second balloon went to
eternity before making it inside the house.
“This is getting ridiculous,” said my daughter holding up the
two empty strings. “I’m going to complain.” She took the
empty strings, my grandson, and shortly thereafter came home with
yet another balloon. “They replaced it because it was
defective,” she said, but the sales person had a hard time not
Since the balloon was replaced for free, my grandson had decided
to upgrade to a Scooby-Doo balloon, slightly larger, and slightly
more expensive. Little did I know that balloon buying was going to
become a full-time affair.
We finally learned that a balloon string is not to be trusted.
Scooby-Doo was held by the balloon instead of the string until he was safely
in the house. Two lost balloons are enough for one day.
For some odd reason my granddaughter’s pink balloon was fine.
It seems that only red balloons are defective. Maybe it’s
something in their genes that make them restless.
If you should see a shiny red balloon floating in the clouds,
please wave as it passes by. It is an escape artist that has
renounced its home to wander the world and explore high places.
One day the grandchildren will also break their strings and go off
into the world to find a life of their own. Maybe the loss
of a balloon is not such a big thing after all.
However, from now on I think I’ll just stick to buying clothes,
books, and teddy bears. Balloons are way too complicated.
Copyright 2005 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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