Johnny has said on his website that ..."no matter now many times I leave and go back, I still feel at home amongst the buggies, cows and trees. There is no place like home." Home for him is Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Since he is roaming the earth, and I am here, I have decided to share my tales from this land that resembles a storybook. Perhaps he will not feel so homesick.
My husband, with his "Slurpico" Italian looks, lured me here from gritty downtown Detroit. Being the creative genius that he is, he surprised me by proposing marriage a mile above the earth in a hot air balloon, floating over Amish country halfway between the towns of Paradise and Intercourse. Yes these are real towns here. It was like riding on a feather. Even that high in the sky, we could hear the tinny little hoofbeats of the horses and buggies below. The Amish ran out toward the cornfields to wave hello. When we were close enough to the ground we yelled out, "What's for dinner?" To which they replied, "POPCORN!!!"
While the Amish people may have been happy to see us, the Amish animals were not. Something about a multi-colored behemoth in the sky left them a bit unsettled. I felt bad about this.
Now, all good things must come to an end. When the balloon guy (I have no idea what else to call him) began to descend, we happened to be traveling above a highway. An Amish man and his buggy were riding on that road. The horse saw us coming in this bizarre thing he has never seen, and became heartstoppingly, unabashedly, uncontrollably riveted. We probably would not have hit him, but he, having an IQ only slightly higher than some of the politicians of the last decade, did not realize this. He went berserk, turning this way and that. I thought for sure the buggy would tip over. Fortunately, the bearded man in the buggy had more experience in these matters than I do, and he was able to steer the horse safely away from us. But for a moment, I thought, what if we crashed? Only in Lancaster could a headline read: BALLOON HITS HORSE AND BUGGY.
I have to thank my husband for that ride. It was one of the most exhilirating experiences of my life, other than saying my actual vows of course (kisses and hugs). Only later that night did he roll over in bed and say, "Uh, do you realize we were a mile above the earth in a wicker basket, with a stranger?" Ah...that's life. No guts no glory. Never hesitate to come home Johnny. There is always room for another person in the basket.