Posted by: Peadar Ban | April 11, 2010

The Big Green Balloon

One sunny afternoon last week, Miss Alana and Miss Linda were in Miss Alana’s very crowded office in the old rectory that stands at the top of the hill at St. Christopher’s.  As they stood in front of the window looking at the sunshine-yellow daffodils, and Mary-blue hyacinths just beginning to open and speaking about very important parish business, Miss Alana’s eyes opened wide in amazement.  She pointed out the window and down the hill and across busy Manchester Street where the cars come faster and faster all day long.  “Look,” she said to Miss Linda.  “Look there!”

Miss Linda followed the direction of the pointing finger and saw.  “Gee whiz!”  and “Good gosh!” were phrases that came to her mind when she saw it too.  Miss Linda grew up on a farm in Kansas not far from Dorothy’s, and if you have ever read any of the Oz books you will know that “Gee whiz!” and “Good gosh!” are said a lot in Kansas.  It really was a “Gee whiz!” moment, because right then near the bottom of the hill was a Big Green Balloon, and it was bouncing up and down and climbing the hill on the puffs of the cool spring breezes.

Miss Alana and Miss Linda forgot what the important business was.  They moved as close to the window as they could get, and looked at each other, their eyes wide with amazement and worry.  “Will a car hit the big green balloon?”  Miss Linda asked, with her brows knotted in concern and care.  “Where did that Big Green Balloon come from?”  Miss Alana wondered as she held her breath and put her hands together just like she would if was saying a prayer.  Miss Alana was very used to doing that since she taught all of the young children at St. Christopher’s parish how to pray.

As if it had heard them speaking, as if the wind knew they were looking, the balloon stopped going up the hill on the other side of Manchester Street.  It paused, and waited for some very fast cars to go by, and then, because it was a very proper balloon, I think, and the breeze was very careful, it bounced across the street right in the middle of the red brick crosswalk in front of the big church doors.  It stopped, respectfully, in front of the church and then began bouncing, dancing really, across the big open parking lot.

The parents had not yet come to fill up the parking lot while they waited for the children to get out of school.  Miss Alana and Miss Linda were smiling now, and not so worried anymore.  They watched it dancing by their window, and turned their necks to follow it.  All along the new flowers waved in the breeze as it passed them by, and the bright blue sky was clearly smiling at the sight.  Then it turned the corner of the old rectory and went down the drive.

“The school playground,” thought Miss Linda.  “It is going there.  But, it won’t get in, and maybe it will tear itself on the fence,” she thought again.  Miss Linda, being from a farm where all sorts of things can go wrong at any moment; the milk could sour, the hay could rot, the mare could throw a shoe, the hens could get nervous and not lay eggs, said, “I’m going to save the Big Green Balloon from bursting on the playground fence!”  And off she ran, quick as only a Kansas farm girl can go.  Miss Alana said, “You go girl,” and really prayed this time.

She did not have to pray too hard, because very soon Miss Linda came back to Miss Alana’s very crowded office with the Big Green Balloon.  She put it on the floor and sat down in the other chair.  She smiled at Miss Alana, who smiled back at her, and said, “I’m glad we saw this balloon.  I’m happy we got to watch it dancing.  But, I’m really happy we were able to save it from bursting on the fence.”

Miss Linda asked, “Do you remember what we were talking about before you saw the balloon?”  “No, I don’t, but it couldn’t have been as important as this,” she said.  Miss Linda agreed.  They turned off the lights in the very crowded office and went home, leaving the balloon to rest.

As they left the big rectory on the hill, the spring breeze brushed softly by them, waved through the little flowers and went on its way.


  1. oh this is precious Peter.. as precious as a real, spontaneous smile. . . . . .

    • Thank you very much, Alys. I met the Big Green Balloon shortly after it had taken up residence in Miss Alana’s very crowded office.

  2. If I ever need a story to explain what it scripture means when it says we must become like little children, this is one I would love to point to.


    • Thank you, Kathy. The whole incident was a children’s story in my eyes, from the very beginning.


%d bloggers like this: