Today on the way to work (I was actually on time...scary)...I was listening to my favorite morning personalities "Rick and Bubba" as I was driving down the Eastern Boulevard. Bubba is a big space program enthusiast, and they took time to watch the countdown of Endeavor as it took its last mission while we listened in on the radio. Of course, the song "The Final Countdown" was playing in the background...which made it even more awesome.
Although I'm not really a space fanatic...I did get a little teary thinking about those folks who are aboard the craft that was jettisoning toward space. I said a prayer for them for safe travel...and I thought how incredible it is that we human beings...or perhaps I should say SOME human beings...have the mental capacity to figure out how to get people up there in the first place. I suppose I've been dealing with the other end of the human spectrum for far too long.
I listened intently while at a stoplight for signs of a successful launch. Like most people, I no longer take a safe launch for granted.
I was working at Union Bank listening to the radio when news of the Challenger disaster was broadcast. My first impression was disbelief...followed by the realization that the teacher, Christa McAuliffe, was onboard and that a lot of schoolchildren were probably watching. I suppose that you always remember where you were when you heard or witnessed something shocking. We are so accustomed to things working out like they did with Apollo 13...and many other mssions...that the Challenger launch really put things in perspective.
By the way, that occurred on January 28, 1986...twenty five years ago. Followed by the Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003...eight years ago.
So, yes, I held my breath as those two minutes went by.
Space travel has never been one of those things that I've ever really wanted to do. I'm not brave, and I'm certainly not brilliant enough to be an astronaut. That's fine. The closest thing I ever really wanted to get near "space travel" was what we used to refer to as the Moon Bounce.
Oh, yeah. You know it. Oh, and by the way...I have no clue who these kids are. (Thanks, Google Images!)
I remember being in one of these at various times growing up and how you could jump and felt a little like you were floating. All floaty. I used to enjoy that feeling when I'd jump on a trampoline...until the day I did a backward flip and landed with my head between the springs.
I wasn't so enamored with the trampoline after that. And then a few years ago, I got on a trampoline and bounced up and down trying to find that floaty feeling again. Much like I did when I got in the Moon Bounce that we rented for Brian's 4th birthday. Frankly, I was too busy hoping that I wouldn't take flight with everything that was moving around if you know what I mean.
(Okay, that wasn't me...but whatever. It brought back memories.) Yes, that fear of taking flight really was quite a change from back in the day when all I had to worry about was keeping my head out of the springs.
So many things we enjoy and then outgrow in life. Sometimes we get to revisit them with children or grandchildren...but it is rarely as much fun or as simple as you remember. Remember Play-doh? Was it just me...or did you want to play with it more often than you were ever allowed? Something about carpet and it being problematic...I don't know. I bought some not too long ago for the niece and nephew and they played for a little while and then lost interest and moved on to something else.
Sadly, I learned that I've pretty much lost interest too. Same with Slinky, roller skating, and Monopoly. Okay, the roller skating is because I'm afraid of being in traction for six months or something.
I suppose that the reason that I was a little teary today was that I sat there and realized that for the better part of my existence...there has been some facet of the space program that has been active. It has just been something that happened from time to time that I normally realized had happened when I saw it on the news. I understand that the next launch...is the last one.
Some things just run their course...
Thankfully, we can remember the really great things like being a kid in a moonwalk...or watching a rocket lift off at Cape Canaveral. The floaty feeling from jumping on a trampoline or the smell of Play-doh. Life is just like that, you know. Full of things that work for a season...and then before we know it...gone.
But certainly not forgotten.