Muskin's flying high at 93
By Polina Olsen
article created on: 2008-09-15T00:00:00
Mel and Elaine Ball returned from Israel to find their travel bug had spread—to Elaine Ball’s 93-year-old mother, Malca Muskin. “You guys go everywhere, I want to go somewhere, too,” Muskin said, when they visited her at Rose Schnitzer Manor.
The couple conferred—Muskin loved Portland’s aerial tram and didn’t fear heights. How about travel in a different direction? How about up in a hot air balloon instead of horizontal across the land? Muskin grabbed her chair and said, “Do you really think I could do this?”
On Thursday, Aug. 28, the group of eight family and friends just said yes. Muskin’s granddaughter flew in from Vancouver B.C. for the occasion. Elaine Ball’s friend, Sharyn Schneiderman, asked her father Lester Salmenson, also a Cedar Sinai Park resident. His answer: “If Malca can do it, I can do it.”
All arrived at Vista Balloon Adventures launch site in Newberg by 6 a.m. (see if you go). They found a crew of volunteer helpers.
“They come every day because they love ballooning and the ballooning community,” Schneiderman said. “The only employees are the pilots.”
Volunteers lifted Muskin and Salmenson into the small doorless basket. The others climbed over the side.
“You have to do it quickly because as the balloon is filling with hot air, it will start to rise,” Schneiderman said. As the balloon climbed to 3,000 feet, they watched five other balloons inflate and rise. Muskin and Salmenson sang “You Are My Sunshine.”
“Floating,” Muskin said, remembering the experience. “You feel like you’re floating. In an airplane, you feel solid.” They looked down at the Willamette River, mountains, cows, a school bus. “We floated over a field and smelled the peppermint.”
Meanwhile, the volunteer crew followed below in a truck, communicating by radio with the balloon pilot. After more than an hour, the balloon gently landed.
“Then,” Muskin said, “we were rewarded.”
“They had the breakfast tables all setup with lace tablecloths,” Elaine Ball said describing the sparkling brunch. “The dishes looked small and fancy.”
The group enjoyed smoked salmon, melted brie with nuts and apples, and egg dishes before driving home.
“It was quite an experience; it wasn’t scary,” Salmenson said at Cedar Sinai Park the next day. “It was fascinating,” Muskin added. “The feeling you get as you’re up there going across the landscape.” She enjoyed watching the balloons inflate into their final shape. “They become so huge,” she said. “It was fascinating.”