A prayer, carried by the wind and Mickey Mouse, gently floated down onto the deck outside my parents' home on Providence Road in Towson on Good Friday, somehow avoiding capture by the many surrounding trees.
The prayer, written on a piece of paper and attached with a red ribbon to a silver foil Mickey Mouse balloon along with a $5 bill that had the word "GOD" written on it in black felt pen, said:
"I know I'm late with this. I also know you'll understand. Please show me the way to renew my faith. You also know that I am your child. Please bless my family and all around me, Your Son, Thomas Leon Walker."
Mr. Walker, 40, a retired Coppin State College police officer who lives in Forest Park, said he has sent five other balloon offerings aloft in the past six months. He releases them around the first of the month, but let this one go a bit later; hence, the reference in his note to being late.
"I made a covenant to God," Mr. Walker said. "You may think it's silly, but I take it very seriously. I'm not a religious person. I'm not a preacher either, but I believe God will carry this to someone who needs it. I hope it's an inspiration.
"I'm not a rich man, but what little bit I have I would love to give to someone else."
Mr. Walker said he has faith the money will be found by someone who needs it, or by a person who cares enough to give it to someone in need.
"He sends them up the first of every month, and he always watches until the balloon disappears," said his wife, Marjorie. "It's his way of paying a vow to God."
Mr. Walker said he tries to write a "sweet and simple" prayer to tie to the balloons.
He also varies the denominations. He has sent $5 and $10 bills and even a $50 bill up in the air.
"I release them all over, at Druid Hill Park -- all around," Mr. Walker said.
He thinks that the one found on Providence Road was released earlier this month at Towson Commons.
Why a Mickey Mouse balloon?
"There're a lot of bad things in the news. I was upset that there were a lot of children killed last year. I want to send up something cheerful," said Mr. Walker, who has three children of his own.
"I love to send something cheerful from me to my maker," he added. "And I think it is an inspiration to find something nice like that when it lands."
Mr. Walker said he includes his name, address and telephone number on the prayer note, but until this weekend, never heard from any recipient.