Christopher Ranch

  (Gilroy, California)
Gilroy's finest. Family owned since 1956
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The Garlic Bulb Balloon Guy

Talent comes in many forms and if you’ve ever seen “America’s Got Talent” you know what I’m talking about. On a recent trip to Chevy’s for fajitas and a watermelon margarita (delish if you haven’t tried) my co-worker, Roggie, and I ran into one such talented person – Ben, the balloon guy. Gilroy’s Chevy’s has had a balloon person, on and off, for many years creating animals, hats – you name it – for squealing numbers of kids, but this night I wanted the balloon guy to make something for me.

Being an equal opportunity balloonista, meaning there was no age limit on his making anyone look juvenile, Ben was ready to grant my wish. “What would you like me to make?” he asked. My immediate answer: “a garlic bulb!” Even with a margarita in my hand, garlic as usual, was on my mind. Ben’s reaction to this request surprised me: “I’ve been working here for 7 years and no one has ever asked me to make a garlic bulb!” Really? I thought it would’ve been number one on the Garlic Capital’s top ten balloon list – or at least a close second to the little doggie with the puffy legs.

Well, it was Ben’s time to shine and, with a big smile, he sprang into action, stretching white balloons, blowing them up, tying them off, even biting off pieces of balloon to make small sections (these were to be the roots of the bulb*) in a virtuoso performance. Rog and I were amazed and delighted when, in a matter of minutes, he whipped out an adorable, chubby Christopher Ranch (of course)) garlic bulb, complete with a little green stem on top. A one-of-a-kind! I happily tipped Ben, finished my marg, and out the door we went with Little Ben; the name just seemed appropriate.

LB sat in a place of honor on my desk for a week or so until, sadly, it started to deflate, becoming a mere shadow of its former glory. Only the good die young, I guess, but I’ll always have my memories… I think it’s time for an encore performance by the balloon guy – and another margarita for me! Thanks to Ben at Chevy’s in Gilroy for making us smile!

*Always look for some roots when buying garlic! Garlic from China has the roots completely shaved off.

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