I’m not exactly a NASA buff or even a space buff per se. I liked Star Trek as a kid, sure, and Star Wars as a young adult and Blade Runner and Alien…well, maybe I do like the sci-fi thing a bit. But anyway, I wouldn’t call myself a stars and moon guy, unless you count the Sixties.

That’s why when Annette and I went to Santa Monica on Friday for lunch for her birthday we had no idea why all these people were standing on Ocean Avenue gawking at the Pacific Ocean. Whales? we said to each other. We ticked off the months in our head, September…yeah, could be whales heading South for the wintering pods in Baja.

We got to the restaurant, ordered a glass of Chianti, and then the waiter and cooks abruptly rushed out the front door onto the sidewalk. Bomb threat? Earthquake? We didn’t feel anything.

When I saw them point to the sky, I remembered and said, “Endeavour, the shuttle flyover,” and we ran outside as well.

There it was cruising through the canyons the buildings made of the sky. People were snapping pictures, cheering, laughing, and giving high-fives to one another.

My first thought was how incredible to see something that had flown beyond gravity now flying over our heads. More than that…it was remarkable that we as a country, and we as the people on this planet, all the people on this planet, could dream such a dream and accomplish such a thing.

I remember the Challenger, of course, and I reflected now on how that tragedy had felt personal, too. It was our loss as a people, our loss as a planet.

But today, in this glimpse of a spaceship returning from outer space, I felt hope and a swell of pride in our upward rise from the Savannahs to the sky and beyond.

I gave Annette a hug, “See how much I love you? Some guys just hire a Cessna to paint happy birthday in smoke.”

She rolled her eyes, kissed me and we went back inside. We had to wait quite awhile for the staff to return so we could order lunch.


(The pictures in this post are not my own, but from a friend of mine who emailed them to me…thanks, Matt.)


One Response to The Dreams Of Endeavour

  1. Mary Mallik says:

    Hi Frank,
    Love the photos. I’m very envious, being something of a ‘Space Nut’ myself. I spent LOTS of money last year trying to catch a glimpse of Endeavour but lost out through the many launch-date changes. (How many airline flight changes can a poor girl afford! You would have thought United could have been a little more sympathetic!!) Maybe I will have to make a detour through dreaded L.A. on my next visit to see it in the museum and re-visit you and Annette now you are back on the mainland!! Love to you both from DownUnder, Mary

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