Sunday, October 24, 2010


The word "serendipity" is loosely defined as the art of discovering something wonderful while searching for something else.
I was on my way home from Hamptonville, NC yesterday afternoon, having made a run to the Shiloh General Store for Amish butter and stone ground grits.  Yes, I can find those things closer to home, and I can order online, but this is October in North Carolina and the sun was shining.
Coming through Statesville, NC, I decided to skip I-40 in favor of Highway 70, and five minutes later found myself in the mother of all traffic jams.  We did not MOVE, and there was very little opportunity for turning around.  I did what I could to make the time pass.  Checked my emails on the Blackberry.  Ate a Pumpkin Whoopie Pie that I had told myself I was buying for Joe.  Listened to my favorite Beach Music CD three times while singing along at the top of my lungs until I noticed the guy in the car up ahead surveying me in his rear-view-mirror like he was considering calling the authorities. I had no clue what the holdup was - but they had my curiosity piqued, so I stuck around.
An HOUR LATER (no joke), we had inched along enough for me to see that everyone was heading for the Statesville Airport and this year's Hot Air Balloon Rally - the second largest in the US.  Realizing that this wasn't some kind of a disaster, but not about to pay the $10 admission fee, and feeling a little queasy from the Whoopie Pie, I elected not to turn in to the airport and gratefully waved goodbye to my guy up ahead (who was probably more grateful to be rid of me and Solomon Burke), and picked up speed toward home.
However, around several more curves and over a couple of hills, I came upon a little clump of cars that had pulled into a tiny side road that provided a great view of the horizon.  With no $10 ticket-taker in sight, I decided to park the car and see what might happen.  None of us knew if we were going to be in the flight path because balloons are prisoners of the wind, and it blows where it will.  But we waited. 

Then, silently, just beyond a nearby tree line, the balloons began rising like giant bubbles blown from one of those bubble-makers we all used to love as kids.  And one by one, they flew right past us on their way into the evening sky.  The only sound was the occasional hiss of their burners.  We counted somewhere in the vicinity of 50 balloons. 

October in North Carolina.  You just never know...


  1. Great blog, Beth! There is something so peaceful about seeing a hot air balloon(s) gracefully float across the sky. Thanks for sharing!

  2. You did good! Great pics.... and you saved $ 10.00 in the process. That would buy a bunch of whoopee pies! What's a whoopee pie???

  3. Beth, what a treat! There is something so special about hot air balloons! When we stayed in Bath, England, every morning and evening hot air balloons went up from Victoria Park. We were fortunate to be staying at a B&B right across from the park and it was always the first thing we did every morning - take a walk through the park. It was a double treat to watch the balloons! So I know how it must have felt for you to see so many of them rising into that magnificent NC blue sky!
    Hugs, Diane

  4. Patsy, a whoopie pie is a homemade Amish Devil's Food Cake with white fluffy icing in the middle - just like those Devil's Food Cakes we used to buy for a nickel when we were kids. These are way better, however - and probably pre-date the commercial version by a few decades. They come in Pumpkin, too! And Peanut Butter. Don't get me started...