I did take a gander at the lunar eclipse for a few minutes. Chief seemed puzzled why I stood staring at the sky, but he often looks puzzled by most things I do.
There are tons of folks watching this celestial event: Facebook friends, far and near, are commenting on the eclipse, posting photographs; there are quite a few people on the front lawn of the high school, and neighboring yards are enjoying the spectacle.
It so reminds me of my childhood when the Apollo missions seemed more frequent. Naturally, the highlight of that era was Neil Armstrong’s famous walk on the moon which I clearly remember. But there were other missions that stand out in my memory.
One summer night when I was between 5 and 7 years old, my mother, father and I took sheets and pillows and blankets outside to the backyard. An Apollo craft was to fly over Elwood Indiana around 1 AM. It was a quiet night, and quite beautiful with an array of stars splattering the black sky. You could hear neighbors cheerfully chatting with neighbors, and it seemed the entire community was having a sleepover.
After a while, the friendly chatter and laughter subsided.
To the east of our home at the corner of Ninth & Main streets, situated on one of the few hills in our hometown, I heard what seemed much like the roar of an ocean wave. At first I was a bit confused, and can remember feeling a bit uncertain. Within seconds I realized the growing roar was cheering from those who were seeing the spacecraft on the other side of town. Eventually the flickering lights came into view as cheers erupted on the west side of Elwood.
It was an exciting time to be a little peep growing up in the beginning stages of the space-age. The fire from the rockets fueled the imagination of countless boys and girls. Barely 60 years before Neil Armstrong’s first step on to the moon, two brothers from Dayton Ohio, my current town, flew the first airplane over the sands of Kill Devil Hill on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
I feel fortunate to have grown up in such an incredible era of technological advances, the dawning of the space-age, and those few years in the late 1960s and early 1970s that took us out to our backyards to look up into the sky.