Sunday, August 26th, 2012

image of the moonI have a strange confession for a space geek to make: I have only the sketchiest idea where I was, and no memory of what I was doing, when Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon.

I’m pretty sure I was in Marquette, Michigan when it happened, but I have no memory of watching the landing, none at all. I can only assume that I did. I was a huge science geek when I was a boy, especially about moon rockets. I have a very vivid memory of just about wetting myself when I unwrapped the giant-sized model moon rocket that my parents gave me for Christmas, and I still remember wearing an old blue sweater with the Apollo 11 crew patch printed across the front.

But, unlike most people, I can’t tell you where I was and what I was doing when the moon landing took place. I will probably be able to tell you, many, many moons from now, where I was and what I was doing when I learned that Neil Armstrong had died, however.

I had just gotten up from a refreshing nap after bicycling into town and back to visit the Orton Park festival with My Darling B on our wedding anniversary. I poured myself a beer and saddled up in front of my computer monitor to check out the Twitter feed and maybe watch videos of some adorable kittens playing with string or something equally wasteful. The tweets memorializing Neil Armstrong had already begun to hit the feed and I thought, “What the hell is this? Neil Armstrong can’t die yet.”

But when I skipped from one news site to another I found that, yes, in fact, he could do that, and he did. And after the idea had sunk in and hit me way harder than I ever thought it would, I went upstairs and out the back door into the yard to search the skies for any sign of the moon. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw it during the day, so I wasn’t even sure it was visible at that hour, but I desperately needed to see it just then.

“What are you looking for?” My Darling B called to me from the kitchen window. “Is it a bird? Is it a plane?” When she stepped out the back door to join me, I told her I was looking for the moon. “Why? Isn’t it there any more?”

“I sure hope so,” I said, then told her, with an unexpected catch in my throat, that Neil Armstrong had died. She’s not the space geek that I am, far from it. Her eyes usually glass over whenever I start talking about space geekery, but she understood immediately that I had lost a hero, so she gave me a big, warm hug and told me everything would be all right.

And it was, even though I couldn’t find the moon in the sky that afternoon, or later that evening. Clouds slowly filled the skies until rain began to fall late in the night and all through the morning today. I’ll have to wait until a clear night to wink at the moon.

wink at the moon | 10:58 am CDT
Category: daily drivel, hobby, My Darling B, O'Folks, play, space geekery | Tags:
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  1. 1 Tributes: Reactions and Online Coverage of Neil Armstrong’s Death | Wink At The Moon Night said at 12:07 pm on August 26th, 2012:

    […] Sunday, 26 August 2012 (this is drivel) […]

  2. 2 George Muller said at 9:57 pm on August 26th, 2012:

    As you were eight years old and the landing took place in the middle of the night, I suspect that you were asleep at the time that Neil Armstrong first strode on the moon. Don’t feel too bad about missing it–the (black-and-white) video was lousy by modern standards.