After us balloon chasers on the ground safely gathered our balloonists and the repacked the balloon and gondola in the trailer, we all returned to the launching site. There any first timers are initiated officially with a ceremony and a prayer. And a tailgating party of balloonists and their crews from all the landings celebrate together. In the car on the way back to the launch site I said that Dear Girl and her Dad are now balloonists and I wondered what balloonists are called--if there is some special name they give themselves. After a momentary pause Dear Girl pipped up from the back seat, "Badass! We're called badass."
Retelling that story at the tailgating party to all the big gruff salty old balloon men made them laugh a long time. Our pilot, Mike Garcia, said balloonists are just called balloonists mostly, but also they are called trespassers because they land everywhere. Which I think is kind of poignant.
Two videos from our day. The first is the Lift Off. The second is The Ballonist's Prayer and Initiation.
'As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said "No Trespassing."
But on the other side it didn't say nothing
That side was made for you and me.'