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Somewhere over the rainbow

Although these balloons are now deflated, Patrick Barry’s daughters are elated. From left to right, Cynthia, Jayden, Audrey and Lily Barry pose Tuesday with the balloons, the letter and American dollar bill their dad found.  - Ashley Degraaf
Although these balloons are now deflated, Patrick Barry’s daughters are elated. From left to right, Cynthia, Jayden, Audrey and Lily Barry pose Tuesday with the balloons, the letter and American dollar bill their dad found.
— image credit: Ashley Degraaf

Coming across a shiny item in a farm field isn’t something too strange.

But when that shiny item — in this case metallic balloons — have an American dollar bill and note attached, that’s a whole different story.

This is the story of Duncan’s Barry family, and the discovery father and husband Patrick Barry made Friday.

Barry, who works at a dairy farm just past Arbutus Ridge in Mill Bay, took the balloons and note to his home in Duncan to share with his wife and four daughters.

“He’s always out spreading the manure and some balloons caught his eye and he decided to pick them up before the field was tilled out,” his wife Amanda said.

The balloons came with the dollar bill tied to it in a Ziploc bag and a note that said, “Hello! This is an experiment to see where these balloons land.”

A phone number and email address were also given, as well as details of when they were launched: Feb. 15, 2014, 7:30 a.m. from Seattle.

“It was a really cool learning experience for the girls,” Amanda said of her two eldest, Cynthia (eight years old) and Jayden (six).

“We brought out maps and the calendar and looked at where the balloons had travelled from. It’s pretty amazing they made it there with how much water they came across.”

The Barry’s other two daughters, Lily (three years old) and Audrey (almost two) were more interested in simply playing with the shiny toys.

The family discovered the balloon’s owners turned out to be two great friends celebrating a 77th birthday in Seattle, Washington.

Birthday girl Jean Feliciean was visiting her friend Eric when that evening they devised a plan to launch the balloons left over from the party.

“She comes down just before Christmas to visit, and she’s just part of my family really,” said Eric of Jean, a Trinidad native currently living in Toronto.

we wondered what are we going to do once they deflate. So we said, ‘Why don’t we launch them off and see where they go?’”

The next morning, the friends made quite the production of the launch at 7:30 a.m.

“It was a real blast-off,” said the 44-year-old travel agent. “We had neighbours watching out their windows.

“From where we were, it looked like they were heading to the south, but then they just kind of disappeared to a dot.

“It’s more exciting for my friend Jean. She’s like a little child, and she’s so excited,” he said of news the balloons had been found in Mill Bay.

“She had wondered, daydreamed a lot about where they might land.”

But she wasn’t the only one excited.

“I have been chatting back and forth all afternoon with Eric from Seattle,” Amanda said on a post about the discovery on Facebook. “What a fun adventure.

“The girls think this is the coolest thing ever.”

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