Saturday, March 30, 2013

rob lemmers -- a life

I did not know Rob Lemmers well.

We met in passing several times.  Usually at eateries.  It was inevitable.  We both lived in Villa Obregon.

Unfortunately, I now have to rely on others to know him better.  Last week, he quickly took ill and died in hospital at Manzanillo on Sunday.  At 69.

His friends gathered tonight to pay homage to him and his life by releasing traditional paper hot air balloons  -- globos.  I will leave the eulogies for people who knew him better.  Some have started on our local message board at Tom Zap.

But I can tell you about the balloon celebration.  It was my first.

The photograph at the top of this post is the start of the assembly process.  The large paper balloon -- you can get a good sense of its size -- was lifted and pulled apart to let the air fill it.

When the launchers were satisfied the balloon was air-tight, a large torch was carefully inserted to fill the pocket with hot air.  A cotton wick, soaked in petroleo, was then lit to keep the internal air hot -- creating the lift that would keep the balloon aloft.

When the balloon was ready for launch, it was walked down a candle-lit runway and released.

Unfortunately, none of my photographs of the ascending balloon are worth printing.  Most balloons first float out over the ocean before catching a breeze out to sea.

This balloon shot straight up like a rocket.  We could see it for minutes as it climbed higher and higher above the clouds.

In this Easter season, the balloon is as good a symbol of any for our hope in the resurrection.  But it also reminds us that we are not people focused on the balloon. 

When the balloon was gone, all of Rob's friends and acquaintances were still on the beach.  His life has touched and altered everyone he has come in contact with.  We now have a duty to share that same love, humor, and joy with one another.

And that would make this a very special Easter.

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