Monday, July 20, 2009
40 Years Ago Today
Forty years ago, on this very day, I went horseback riding with my Girl Scout Troop, near our home in Raleigh, Tennessee. I remember that it was very hot and humid.
Also, I got a horse who was "barn sore", meaning that he didn't want me to ride him, he wanted to go back to his barn and relax. So, he kept taking off away from the trail and through the woods, trying to rub me off on the sides of trees. Looking back, it was funny, but not very much fun. My horse wasn't the only one who wanted to go home. All in all, it was a forgettable day.
However, the evening was something I will remember always. From later afternoon on until late evening, all three television networks were tuned into the moon landing and Neil Armstrong's walk on the moon. Being big fans of Walter Cronkite, we watched his hosting of the event. I was both bored, because of technical jargon and fuzzy, black & white pictures, and enthralled by the experience. It was incredible. The only other time I could remember all three networks being monopolized by a news story was after the death of President Kennedy, which was a traumatic event. Now, our country was being drawn together by a collossal space adventure. The whole experience filled me with hope and optimism about the future and what we as a nation could accomplish, despite all the recent social upheaval and the Vietnam war.
It's hard to believe that this momentous day was 40 years ago and that I was just an 11 yo, looking forward to Jr. High. My thoughts linger over the memory of our sitting together as a family (what a treasure just that was!), watching Neil Armstrong taking those first few steps, and our realizing that every other home in our neighborhood, and in fact the nation, was doing the exact same thing.
So much has happened since then to all of us who were alive to remember it. Pausing to reflect on the incredible optimism of that day is mighty potent.
So, that is why I remember my lousy horseback riding experience...because it was followed by a gift from the Stars.