Monday, July 20, 2009

40 Years Ago

40 years ago today I was with my great grandfather in the playground across the street from my grandmother's home. She had called to him several times because even at his age he was still climbing the slide and playing on the swings with me.

The last time she called we went running back to the house. He pulled that ugly green chair up about 3 feet from the screen like he always did. He fished out the brick of tobacco he kept snapped into his chest pocket and cut off a hunk. I remember the pocket knife he used had been sharpened so many times the brown blade was curved a little. He used the blade to pop the tobacco into his mouth. I was about to ask about it and he shushed me as the voice of Walter Cronkite announced the events unfolding live.

40 years ago I sat on the floor next to an old cowboy sitting too close to the big Zenith. Next to a man that came west as a boy in a covered wagon and saw the world from the back of a horse for most of his life. I sat there wide eyed, less than 50 years from that first flight at Kitty Hawk. I sat there 40 years ago and watched with the rest of the world stunned and amazed.


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