July 19, 2009
I was 10 in the summer of 1969. We had moved out of Chicago the year before, into the little village of Warrenville. I was outside playing with neighbors Ray and Robin when my dad called me inside using his famous two- fingers-the-mouth whistle. That particular whistle meant "COME HERE NOW !" I ran to the house convinced I was in trouble. He ushered me into the living room and told me "sit down, you need to watch this. " TV ? In the middle of the day ? I sat down and looked at the black and white screen. Some weird science fiction show . A goofball on some foreign planet with an American Flag in his hand. I started to get up. My fathers' hand pressed down on my shoulder. "Stay." I stayed. And I watched the first man in the history ...walk on the moon.
My dad has been gone 19 years , but with tomorrow being the 40th anniversary of that momentous occasion , that days memories are very clear. I can feel his strength through his hand on my shoulder. I can smell the unfiltered Camels on his white short sleeved button up shirt. I can remember what it was like to hug him around his waist and have the metal buckle of his cheap belt scratch my arm. The only belt he owned. The one he wore every day to hold up his pants that were always too big for him. Funny thing those pants. He was a heavy man but still his pants were always too big for him.
I don't believe I ever told him how much it meant to me that he recognized history was being made and he wanted me to be a part of it. That moment in front of the TV, just me and my dad has cemented itself in my brain. Thanks dad. Thank you very much.