Last night I went outside and spent awhile looking at the moon. I do that often and call it my late-night vespers. Last night I thought about the passing of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon–WALK ON THE MOON!!!!! How incredible that was! How newsworthy! Exciting! Dramatic! Earth-changing! Sadly, I have almost no recollection of it.
Here is why I don’t remember the time Americans spent landing on the moon, walking on the moon and making it back from the moon: I was busy doing really important things: My birthday was in two days and I was going to the L & M Steakhouse in Lakewood for dinner (Whoo-hoo! $6.00 for a great T-bone.) I was also busy getting ready to start my career the next month (August 15, 1969). Mostly I was busy living a small life in a small basement apartment at 2530 Krameria Street, in hippie-town Denver.
Last night I thought about life then and the comparative importance of the moon and the L&M Steakhouse. Dag Hammerskjold, in his great, introspective book, Markings (which I had read many times by 1969, so you’d think I would have been less self-absorbed), wrote about the young man on one of Columbus’s ships who was only worried he wouldn’t make it back in time to inherit his father-in-law’s cobbler shop. Same thing.
For most people, their own life and concerns are all that matter. There is a tremendous lesson in that when we are trying to teach them or reach them or just trying to figure out how to deal with them. They can appreciate the moon, but the L&M Steakhouse is more immediate. (I’m embarrassed to admit that was true then and often is true now.)
With many thanks to NASA and Neil Armstrong.