Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Ahhhh factor

Child's note to Santa sent by balloon brings cheer in McNeal

Mary A. Fabiny holds a balloon and note to Santa she found in her driveway in Cochise County recently. (JONATHON SHACAT/Wick Communications)
By Jonathon Shacat/Wick Communications
Published: Wednesday, December 26, 2007 11:06 AM CST
MCNEAL - A child who recently sent a wish list to Santa has brightened the lives of some people in the area.

Mary A. Fabiny found a green balloon clinging to the branch of a bush along her driveway in an isolated part of Cochise County on Dec. 12.

A rolled-up piece of paper was attached to the balloon's ribbon. The letter, which is written in Spanish, starts off with "Hola Santa." The child asks him to bring a PlayStation video game system for Christmas. The note is not signed.

Fabiny lives 12 miles from McNeal, just south of Davis Road and west of Frontier Road. She is surprised the balloon landed where it did. "I have 80 acres of mesquite, so there is nothing but mesquite around here," she said.

At first, she suspected someone had put the balloon there on purpose. She looked for footprints and asked her neighbors, but nobody seemed to know anything about it.

Fabiny finds it interesting that Dec. 12 - the date she found the balloon - was the feast day for Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Virgin of Guadalupe is Mexico's most beloved religious and cultural image. The icon depicts an apparition of the Virgin Mary.

"I keep passing this story on and it makes a spark in people and it goes from there," she said. "The more I tell the story, the happier I get. It has opened doors for me. I've had the best week for a long time."

She would like to find the child who wrote the letter so she could arrange to give the gift to him or her.

"Some people say, 'Let's tie little gifts to green balloons and send them back across the border,' " she added.

Sierra Vista Herald/Bisbee Daily Review Reporter Jonathon Shacat can be reached at (520) 515-4693 or by e-mail at

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