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A Lot of Magic Left

In the summer of 2016 our extended family went to Lahaina to celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. One night we attended the Kupanaha Magic Dinner Theater, where magician Jody Baran did numerous tricks, including one in which he walked out into the audience and handed out balloon animals to a few lucky kids. As he neared our table, he made eye contact with my then 5-year-old son J-, who was sitting on my lap. J- is not only a middle child, but a quiet boy as well. Though he wanted a balloon, he didn't ask for one, and Baran handed out the last balloon animal at the next table. But something in J-'s eyes must have spoken to the magician, because he stepped over and told J-, "I've got something for you later."

Toward the end of the show, Baran held a helium balloon and tore off bits of the string as he told a story about how he had met former president Ronald Reagan, who had given him advice and encouragement. At the end of the story he restored the torn string to its full length, then walked out and handed the balloon to J-, telling him, "There's a lot of magic left in that balloon."

We got back to the condo where we were staying and J- released the balloon into the room, where it was pulled straght toward the ceiling fan. But Baran was right, the balloon still had a lot of magic in it. We wached it pass right through the blades unscathed and come to rest on the ceiling above the fan, where it remained until we were able to turn off the fan and retrieve the balloon.

The balloon was still on the ceiling two days later when it was time to leave. We weren't able to take it on the plane with us, so we told J- he could release it into the sky. We watched it rise until it was out of sight. I like to imagine it's floating through the stratosphere even today, a lot of magic still left.

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