Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sheer Magnificence

By Julie Rahm

     A few months ago, our friends from Ohio received a letter from an attorney. They thought it was the typical law firm advertisement. The letter resembled the ones we receive as a part of group litigations. You know the type; “You could be entitled to a settlement of a million dollars.” Anyway, when our friends opened the letter they learned they were being sued.
     Being sued usually causes turmoil in one’s personal life. This case was no exception. You see, our friends own a hot air balloon. On a particular day in June, the pair were out flying their balloon over the Ohio countryside. The flight was uneventful. The weather was perfect. Visibility was not restricted by clouds and the winds were light. However, as evening arrived, the winds began to diminish. The balloon stopped drifting and started to hang in one spot. Unfortunately for our friends, the balloon stopped over the median of interstate 70.
     The balloon hung right between the east/west lanes of the interstate. To make matters worse, their propane supply started to dwindle. They were unable to produce the hot air required to keep the balloon aloft. The huge colorful balloon started to settle. They stopped about twenty feet above the ground. The balloon hovered above the busy interstate. Onlookers slowed their cars and eventually stopped to watch the spectacle. In a matter of minutes the mother of all traffic jams ensued. Traffic was stopped in both directions for miles! As fate would have it, the Ohio State Police had a barracks less than a mile from the impending landing. They could see the balloon out the dispatcher’s window! The State Troopers actually drew straws and the loser was sent to remedy the situation. Needless to say, the State Police were not impressed with the situation. Luckily, as the State Trooper stepped from his patrol car, the balloon ground crew arrived. The ground crew grabbed a dangling rope and dragged the stalled balloon off the interstate and into an adjacent field. In short order, the balloon was collapsed and stored away. The State Trooper wanted to issue a citation. But, he was at a loss for an offense. Soon the traffic was flowing again and the incident seemed over...until the letter arrived.
     Evidently, the balloon had settled near a pasture containing “prized steers”. When these steers saw the balloon, they became overwhelmed by the balloon’s “sheer magnificence”. Two of the steers broke through their fence and into an adjacent alfalfa field where they over-ate, got the bloat and died! Our friends were being sued for 750-dollars, the cost of two steers.
     The good news is the balloon insurance company paid the claim. More than 750-dollars and the insurance company would have gone to court. Attorneys are savvy.
     So my message this week is to let your “sheer magnificence” shine, even if it is occasionally overwhelming to people and animals. Make the world a brighter place because you’re in it!

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