On Thursday, 20 July 2017, I finished reading one of the bestest books I've read in ages, The Martian –by Andy Weir. Oh! My! God! What a ride. (My review is here: http://lenoragood.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-martian-by-andy-weir.html if you're interested). Thanks to Andy Weir, I may never eat another potato as long as I live. As I lazed on the sofa, recouping from being stranded on Mars and eating more spuds than I knew existed, I watched the news. That night was the 48th anniversary of our landing on the moon. Do you remember it? I do.
I was very pregnant 48 years ago, and had taken the bus from Portland to Taft, Oregon (now part of Lincoln City) and was spending a few days on the Siletz River with my grandparents in their travel trailer parked at Mick's Place (last time I was there, it was Coyote Rock). The Portland Oregonian newspaper had kindly published instructions so people could not only watch the moon landing, but could photograph it from their televisions. Bravo Oregonian!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6A72ufn3l4 about half-way through the video the horizon starts going up and down. Well, actually the horizon stayed put, the guys with the cameras were going up and down. Photo stolen from the web.
So there the Skipper and I were (Skipper was my grandfather) in their little trailer, with our tripods set up in the galley, cameras pointed at the exceptionally small and grainy tv (no dish, no cable). I watched the whole thing through my viewfinder. Did I mention I was pregnant? Very pregnant? Well, as Neil and Buzz cavorted about on the moon with their cameras, the horizon went down and up and down and up and.... It took a lot, but I managed to keep my stomach from going up and down and up and out and.... There I was, on an airless, waterless moon, and I was seasick!
What a thrill! What excitement! We were on the moon!!! First stop in space exploration. Mars, here we come, ready or not!
When I got home, I called my Auntie Marie and asked if she'd seen it. Oh, yes, she'd seen it. Like everyone else who could get to a tv, she was enthralled. She remembered when the Wright Brothers flew for the first time, and she told anyone who would listen that she would live to see men land on the moon. She could picture space flight, but in her wildest imagination, she never saw remote tv. She thought she'd live long enough to read about it in the paper, see an article on the evening news, she was totally gobsmacked that she actually got to SEE it.
I miss my Auntie Marie, a whole lot. But I'm kind of glad she didn't live to see the space programs killed. That would have been a huge disappointment, not to mention heart ache, for her (as it was for a lot of us). And thank our lucky stars we now have Elon Musk! And Neil deGrasse Tyson! And other visionaries!
In the meantime, I truly don't think I can ever eat another spud. While I watched the horizon move down and up on the tube, and managed to keep my dinner where it belonged 48 years ago, I had a really hard time surviving all those days by eating spuds while stranded on Mars for about 18 months last week. My least favorite veggie to begin with and by the time I finished the book, I really don't like them. If you haven't yet read The Martian, I strongly suggest you do. It's worth the read. Just don't start it at bedtime. (And poor Marc Watney didn't even have hot sauce to make those spuds palatable!)
A most special thanks to those of my friends who graciously let me have part of their life-time supply of exclamation marks for the writing and publication of this blog. No exclamation marks, or friends, were harmed during the process.