Shiny objects.

May 9, 2012 § 3 Comments

Every year I’m the visiting author at Kate Sullivan Elementary’s Sunshine State Young Readers Award luncheon.

We celebrate our reading prowess by eating chicken tenders and doing screwball if-you-were-an-author exercises.

This year I went home with a beautiful thank-you arrangement of rosemary branches and larkspur. Tied around the vase were two ribbons, each of which restrained a star-shaped mylar balloon, one green one gold.

Celebrating great readers with mylar and helium is such a human gesture, but the balloons have three things which, to us, say joy!

1. They are shaped like wishes.

2. They are shiny.

3. They bobble as if cheerfully tipsy, but not falling-down-drunk.

Among the many warnings printed on each (don’t inhale, avoid electricity) was a warning against releasing the balloons out of doors—tell that to the balloons.

As soon as I left the school hugging my vase the balloons leapt to the full length of their ribbons and batted each other as they attempted to release themselves and escape to the sky.

They wouldn’t be the first. Who follows the warnings anyway? Get married or graduate and the urge to release wish-shaped, shiny, slightly drunk objects is almost irresistible.

If they’d escaped, mine would have joined other celebratory satellites wheeling silently across the sky.

But over their strenuous objections my balloons were coming home with me.

They plastered themselves to the headliner of the car as we drove home where the vase was set on a pedestal, the tethered balloons straining toward the ceiling.

The green balloon got discouraged first. It floated lower, its ribbon drooped. Strangely, it assumed the shape of the human torso. Shiny, and superhero-ish it looked busty and fit.

As it softened more, it hovered in perfect equilibrium between the ceiling and floor.

Ray felt sorry for it and cut the ribbon. Untethered it began to wander through the house. Caught in an updraft it took on the ceiling fan causing a clatter louder than blowing a tire but it didn’t pop. Undaunted, it made three attempts, scaring us every time.

I came across it later in the bedroom, lounging against the pillows. When it returned to the living room it threaded the gap between the wheels of my wheelchair and settled under my desk; one of Moo’s favorite spots.

As it continued to wither it took to standing on two of its starry points. Ray drew a face on it and put it in the front room for its own safety.

It didn’t stay there long.

When I turned around it was balanced on two points on the arm of the sofa. As I watched it walked delicately across the TV remote and down onto the sofa.

A little while later Ray rescued it from the sucking embrace of the exhaust fan over the washer.

That was last night. Green has now reached crumpled old age and moves slowly and deliberately with long rests in between.

Gold still has enough loft to aspire toward the sky. String dangling it is pressed against the ceiling. Today could be Gold’s day to explore the house and challenge the fans.

Soon, both will be deflated, like wishes that have run into reality.

But they will still be shiny, so we’ll cut them up and glue them to some project or other at The Front Porch Library.

What kid doesn’t like shiny?

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§ 3 Responses to Shiny objects.

  • You bring so much to each moment in your writing. Following the balloons shows just how much you do with a small piece of life.


    • I have been so confined since the accident that all I have left are the small pieces of life, the ones that fit inside my living room.

      But it is kind of nice to look at the small stuff for a change and to have time to do it and the permission of the world to lag behind, at least temporarily. No one expects much from me these days. It’s kind of a relief.


  • Good old Kate Sullivan. Hard to believe I was a studen there 50 years ago. I don’t remember seeing many shiny objects then. It would have been fun. It was definitely fun reading this post about kids (and adults) having fun.



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