BARBWIRE by Barb Lumley


     All this news in the last few days about the shooting down of a Chinese spy balloon and then shooting down more “unidentified flying objects” has certainly stirred up a “hornets’ nest” in our government and our country.  The government has become much “quicker on the trigger” since that Chinese spy balloon was actually spotted by someone!  It has created so many questions and concerns for everyone in our country, but as of yet, no answers!  As I have listened to the reports on all of this over the last few days, my thoughts turned to something strange that happened right here on this farm last summer.
On a warm, pleasant, early summer morning, I took my cup of coffee and went out on my deck to enjoy the sunrise and the beauty of the hills.  As I looked down across my yard to the county road, I saw it.  There, across from my house, settled into the un-mowed grass along the road, was a big balloon.  It was almost the size of one of the smaller made round bales of hay.  It appeared to be a sort of smoky gray on the outside with some splotches of color on it.  I couldn’t tell if there was anything in it.  It was just sitting there!  The question was why!  How did it get there?  I had no choice but to go about my chores, however every once in a while I would check on it and it would still be there!  Now, in view of what has recently happened, I am wondering why and where did it come from?!  Was there equipment inside it that was recording something or looking for something?
Could it have been a spy balloon?  Was it seeking information about registered Holsteins   and the Ohio Holstein Association?  It was sitting right across from the location of my computer room, where I have stacks of Holstein magazines, Holstein books, a wall covered with show awards, pictures, as well as some other important information.  Could they have been checking out my Christmas cactus that is over 100 years old and sits by the sliding glass door?  There is no doubt in my mind that the Chinese want to know about everything we grow and raise!
Could there be some type of “bug” that was collecting information from my computer and phone?  I am known to be someone who tends to speak out and express my opinions.  At the time I was corresponding with a friend, who was spending some time in jail because he expressed his opinion.  Maybe someone was concerned that we were going to start a protest march about free speech when he got out!  Could they have been checking my columns to see what I write about?  If so, that would certainly confuse them!  You never know what I am going to write about!!  Sometimes I don’t know until shortly before the column needs to be sent out!  Could it have been a spy balloon?  We will never know.  It was gone the next morning.
A few weeks later I climbed on my “mean green machine” and began mowing the yard.  As I made my first pass in the backyard next to the pasture I suddenly saw something unusual ahead of me.  It was three large balls, each a little bigger than a grapefruit but smaller than a seedless watermelon, sitting there in the yard.  They were dark grey in color.  I had no idea what they were!  I didn’t know whether to just run my mower over them or drive around them!  Was it something that might explode?  I decided to just leave them alone for a few days.  They just laid there and nothing changed!  Finally, after a few days the grass had to be mowed again.  When I came to them, I got brave.  I aimed the “mean green machine” right at them!  When the mower hit them there was this cloud of gray dust that flew everywhere!  What were they?  I have no idea!  Neither the “mean green machine” nor I seemed to suffer any after affects!
All this news about balloons and flying objects has made us question everything!  We have all seen the Goodyear Blimp fly over at some time.  Was it really the Goodyear Blimp or a “fake” Goodyear Blimp sent over by a foreign country?  When all those beautiful hot air balloons fly into Stark County for the Football Hall of Fame celebration each year, are they just enjoying the festival and the celebration or are they taking pictures and gathering information about the area, the industries, and seeking information about numerous other things there?  And what about that ordinary red balloon that you find in your field that asks you to send information back to the children in a school at a certain address?  Sounds so simple and innocent doesn’t it?  Even that could be a way of a foreign country seeking information about how far something might travel in the sky over our country!
When the singing group, Fifth Dimension, won a Grammy in 1967, the Record of the Year Award and several other awards in 1968 for singing, “Up, up and away my beautiful, my beautiful balloon”, a song that symbolized happiness and lightness of sorrow, no one ever dreamed that the day might come when it could become the theme song for a foreign country and their spying balloons!

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