Saturday, December 11, 2010

When the Memories Come Back

Misty Hollow Carving
This BLOG is sponsored by “Misty Hollow Carving”. You are welcome to visit Misty Hollow and see all of my carvings.

My Web Site is a like a Gallery – please drop in for a stroll through.

To help me promote my Web Site please copy this URL address and email to someone today  

* * * * * * * *
Today’s Blog Post
When the Memories Come Back

My thoughts this morning were shot back to July 20th in 1969.

My wife and I were in our car traveling south on the old Highway #27 in Ontario. It was later in the evening and it was growing darker. We had our oldest daughter Dana sleeping in her baby basket and my younger sister Karen sitting beside her in the back seat.

We were heading home after a few days of vacation on the shores of a Muskoka lake, somewhere north of the Barrie area.

It is weird.. I can’t remember where we were or where we stayed that few days… I think it was in a tent… and I remember us having rented a boat… and swimming in that clear water… then climbing into the well packed car and heading home.

As the time went by we were listening to the radio on the way home to Oakville, Ontario. It was then that I caught the broadcast first of some amazing things happening far, far away.

Along the old #27 highway I stopped in a small service station where the folk were glued to a TV set watching what I had heard on the radio. Men were walking on the moon! No kidding! They had traveled all the way from our earth to the moon and were at that moment walking free of their landing craft!

When I slipped back into our car to head south again I had no idea what it really meant to any of us on earth. That was 41 years and 5 months ago. Wow! That thought is a vibrant today as if it happened last evening.

Since that time, our little baby grew up, got married and has had children of her own. Along with her came our second little one - Anda, who is also married and has kids too.

My little sister, who was the youngest in my family is now 54 years old.

So long, long ago… oh boy.

This morning I read a piece in the news about Neil Armstrong, one of the men that did that walk on the moon on July 20th, 1969.

After all these years someone asked him one question that apparently no one had asked. That question, “Why was your giant step for mankind 41 years ago, not a moonwalk?”

In other words that first landing didn’t allow anyone to walk away from the spot they were standing. They didn’t go far at all. Seems a little funny today… after travelling all that way… to only stand in one spot about the size of your front yard today.

Here is his answer… quote…
“We were operating in a near-perfect vacuum with the temperature well above 200 degrees Fahrenheit.”
“There was great uncertainty about how well we would be able to walk in our cumbersome pressurized suit. We did not have any data to tell us how long the small water tank in our backpacks would suffice,” said Armstrong. Plus, “Preflight planners wanted us to stay in TV range.”
End quote (The Star article – see below)

In all these years I never thought to even ask that question. We didn’t know that there would only be another 6 locations visited in 41 years.

As I read over Neil’s words I thought back on my own life. Like him I didn’t go far enough at the time I was in places of adventure. There was too much to do… no time to do more… and well – we had responsibilities to fulfill.

On July 20th, 1969… in the darkness of that evening I had to get home and get some sleep… I had to work in the morning. There was no time to sit in that small gas station… my baby girl was fussing and we were all tired.

Since that time I have watched the videos and then looked at the still shots over and over again. That has made it part of my life.

Unfortunately other things along the way I cannot remember. I was too busy and not able to take the time to take it all in. In fact if I am honest, 99% of my world and life whizzed by and I missed it.

In later years I have slowed down and taken more time to watch and listen – then discover something new.

A few years ago…
I walked slowly around the property in the long valley in Papua (Irian Jaya), Indonesia… savouring the sounds and smells that wafted down the valley. Not far away were the angry people that had tried to kill friends of mine… or at least scare them away a few years before. The tension was still there. And there just beside me was a large, red tractor that had its tires slashed.

Away back in Canada a few years before that I had organized the refurbishing on that tractor in Saskatchewan. One of the older men that I had met wanted to donate his old tractor to help people somewhere in the world with their farming. So we got it ready and away it went.

As I stood on that property… walking to the tractor… I stopped. I never went further up the road. I should have. I needed to see the angry people for myself. Mind you that might not have been such a good idea in that many were still very angry. They were the ones that had slashed the tires.

Instead I slipped back to the large, western, styled house that we were sleeping in… at the very edge of the jungle… so very far from home.

It is funny at this moment as I savour that memory. Neil Armstrong is now 80 and he was savouring his memory of so many years ago… which then triggered mine.

Oops – another memory just pooped up…
I remember crawling through the deep weeds on my stomach. I was playing with my brother and sister in the open field just north of our house on Elliott Street, in Regina. I think I might have been 11 years old at the time. And the game was War… I was a G.I. and I was about to free the Island of the horrible ‘Japs’…

My little brother Glen, stood up and walked away from the field. He was tired of crawling on his stomach and didn’t want to be a ‘Jap’ any longer! I guess it was hard when you are only 6 years old and you keep ‘getting killed’.

I remember laying there in the sunshine and looking close at the ground below the weeds… smelling the earth and then watching bugs crawl up the stems of the giant weeds. I stayed there a long time.. before boredom crept in….

Oh boy… here comes another one…
I was in the hay loft of my grandpa’s farm. The haymow was full of soft and clean hay. It was slippery when you walked on it. There was a rope that my uncles had tied to the rafters that was used to pull yourself up the pile of hay on one side. Then with a loud cry you could swing to the other side and drop into the huge pile of hay.

I remember walking over to the large doors at the east end of the barn loft and looking out. The rain was falling across the fields to the east. The wind was blowing from the other side of the barn and the world seemed so big at that moment. I can remember thinking… “I wonder if I can go where the wind is going?’

Strange thinking for a little boy in southern Saskatchewan… so far away from Hong Kong, and Thailand, and China, and Indonesia, and Papua, and Africa, and England, and just about every place I have ever been.

Now I remember… and sift through those old thoughts and memories.

As I read of the Neil Armstrong today and his reflections… at 80years old now… his memories are so vibrant still. WOW!

Where do your memories take you today?

Can you remember that first really special Christmas gift under that old tree… ? How old were you when…?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

No comments: