It was 50 years ago.
Dad and I watched as Neil Armstrong took that “one small step” onto the surface of the moon.
The shadowy images were transmitted in black and white. Therefore, it hardly mattered that we were watching on our antenna fed black and white TV. Summertime television reception at our home on Steamboat Bay of Leech Lake was always a bit compromised by the surrounding leaf filled trees and foliage. Hey, it was better than nothing. So what if Killebrew and Oliva were seen through a bit of a grainy fuzz when we sat down to watch the Twins. It was a ballgame and we could see it.
And, we could see what hundreds of millions of others were seeing on that July night.
We could see a man on the moon.
I must have been amazed to some extent. But, I can’t honestly account for how I, as an eleven year old kid, was affected by watching that momentous event.
I can’t help but believe that my 48 year old dad was filled with a sense of wonderment that I lacked the perspective to fully appreciate. Because he had lived to see so much in such a relatively short time.
He had been that ragtag youngster decked out in loose fitting OshKosh B’Gosh overalls who ran down to the tracks with his slightly older brother to watch another amazing train go huffing and clacking through the outskirts of their small Iowa town.
“Bud–don’t you get too close to those tracks. Lowell–you watch out for Bud”
He was a six year old when his dad told him the story of a man from Minnesota who had just flown a plane across the vast Atlantic Ocean.
He had been a young man not far beyond his school years when the US Navy sat him him down in a glassed enclosed turret atop a bomber and taught him how to fire a twin barreled machine gun at the enemy.
And, the same year that the Soviets had won the first leg of the space race with the launching of their Sputnik Satellite, he learned that I was due to be born the following spring.
He must have been filled with wonder as he watched Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin cavorting on the Lunar surface. Surely, he marveled at all that had transpired in less than five decades. He must have wondered what I was thinking as we, father and son, saw history being made.
Today, I’m left wondering how, since that night, 50 years could have passed so quickly.
I think I’ll check out the moon tonight.