He has a rather goofy grin, don’t you think? The man in the moon, I mean. Kind of slack jawed and spacey (sorry, punning again), similar to a circus clown or someone who’s just a bit deranged.
As a child, I often stared up at him, his friendly face beaming down during those summer nights we sat on our front porch, me in my nightgown with a blanket wrapped round my shoulders to ward off the evening chill. It was a summer time ritual in my family, the porch sitting thing. I looked forward to it with a great sense of anticipation, for even though I was called in at dusk (along with the rest of my neighborhood playmates), while they were sent to their dark and lonely bedrooms I was allowed to stay up with the grownups and sit on the front porch.
And watch the man in the moon.
What was he doing up there? I wondered. Was his smiling face beckoning me to come up and visit? After all, Neil Armstrong had recently walked around there – I had seen him with my own eyes on the blurry black and white TV screen, bobbing about like a puffy marshmallow floating atop a cocoa mug. And I would squinch my eyes very tightly, hoping I might be able to see a glimpse of that American flag he planted so proudly amongst the rocks.
No flag. Just that silly smiling man in the moon face.
But Walter Cronkite had suggested that one day space travel might be commonplace, sometime far, far into the future – perhaps in the year 2000! – people would rocket around to stratospheric space stations in much the same way they already flew from coast to coast. I stared deeply into the night sky, wondering if I might spy one of those bubble topped sky vehicles like George Jetson drove, whizzing between the stars.
No space cars. Just myriads of twinkling, starry lights.
Meanwhile my eyes would grow heavy lidded and tired as I burrowed deeper into my blanket, my head would wobble a bit as I struggled to keep it upright on my neck. The voices of my mother and grandmother became remote and fuzzy – “I just never did see the likes of it,” my grandmother would say, her soft Southern drawl cadenced like a lullaby, “all those children of hers runnin’ round nearly nekkid…”
Oh, she’s talking about the O’Reilly’s I thought sleepily, whose seven children were allowed to wear their bathing suits all day long during the summer.
I wonder if you had to wear clothes on the moon? I might think, sneaking one last peek at the man in the moon.
Maybe that’s why he had such a goofy grin on his face.
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