In the foothills of the great Smoky Mountains, I met my match.
I always thought I could find a story in anyone, at least anyone old enough to answer a phone.
But I didn't plan on Trey Pyles. He answered the phone, which meant I had to try and learn something about life from a 5-year-old.
It obviously wasn't going to be easy. Trey was just at that age where he couldn't sit still, no matter where he was.
He had a like-minded brother, appropriately named Chase, and a mom and dad who tried to keep up. After church and a quick drink, Trey liked to eat muffins the size of Montana. He was still working on the finer points of soccer and T-ball, but already excelled at Nintendo and English as a second language.
"I'm the bestest," he proclaimed.
But what he was really bestest at was kindness. Every few weeks, Trey liked to give balloons to his grandma. Of course, a lot of kids like to give their grandma presents.
But what's special about Trey is that he still does.
"After the funeral, he walked in her room and just started crying, and that was really hard for me, 'cause they were really close," said Trey's mother.
Trey used to see his grandma almost every day. He was two when she died, and yet, he clearly still remembers.
"I never say, 'Let's do this.' It's - it's always him saying, 'I want to give my mammy a balloon,'" said his mother.
I asked Trey if he would show me how you give a balloon to someone who's not here anymore, and he obliged, but didn't take me to the cemetery.
Because his way of thinking is: Why tie it to a tombstone when she's not even there? Why not bring it up here and let her catch it?
As Trey watched that balloon disappear into his grandma's arms, I realized that he did have something to say after all: that faith is where you find it, and there's a lot more to religion than just sitting up straight on Sundays.
It's been quite a while since Hartman first told Trey's story. So long, that he now is Mr. Mom to his brother, Chase, warning him to be careful as Chase hangs upside down from a tree branch.
"Chase, you're gonna break your neck," Trey warns his brother and notes, "He doesn't care."
Trey is now 9-years-old and a really good kid by all accounts - including his own.
He says, "I'm kind to people and if you don't believe me, you can ask my mom."
In fact his mom, Lindy Pyles, says he's become so sweet and gentle that one of his favorite pastimes is "writing romance."
And because he is such a sensitive kid, it should come as no surprise that he still misses his grandma terribly - actually both grandmas, now. He lost the other one last summer.
Lindy Pyles says, "Trey now writes notes and addresses each balloon to make sure it gets to the right grandma."
And although there's no tracking for this kind of delivery, even if the balloons don't make it high enough, there is plenty of hope in his face to see from at least a billion miles away.