Mrs. Maxine is the only reason I ever ended up at any Balloon Jam what-so-ever.
She emailed me and told me that as long as I brought a case of Fudge, she'd pay my way and give me a room to stay in. I might have been 17 then. I jumped at the opportunity, even though I had NO CLUE what I was getting myself into.
I'm now 22 and can say that she's helped me get to numerous Orlando Jams, Chicago, Boston, Diamond Jam, and more importantly... She's helped me get to where I am today.
She was responsible for introducing me to a number of the Balloon community (and Idaho Spud Bars) and I thank her for that. Without her, I would never have met any of the balloon artists that I now call my mentors. She pretty much adopted me as her grand kid and it even went so far as for me to have her in my phone as "Gma Maxine."
My heart goes out to each and every one of you that knew her. I know she's touched a lot of lives. Mine was definitely one of them.
On the same note, I just got word that my Grandpa has some serious cancer issues. So, Ma told me he's expected to live about two months. So, I'm doing everything in my power to earn enough money between now and October 20th (When I'm supposed to be in Japan) to be able to drive up and visit him. Yeah... Even though I'm a smiling, happy, fun-loving entertainer... I've got a few family issues too.
Just the same, tomorrow night I will be throwing on my apron, tossing on a smile, and walking into the door of a Cody's Roadhouse Restuarant where I will be goofing off, twisting balloons, and making people happy. Cause yeah... Tomorrow, it's not just going to be fun and games, it's my job.