First solo flight

A boulder once named The RocketI believe I have come down with a nearly debilitating case of cabin fever. This constant grayness, in which I wake in the morning to a liquid sky the color of a World War II battleship dripping just outside my pillow, is like a scene from “The Twilight Zone.”

But I’m pretty sure Spring, if I can hang on long enough, will arrive in a spectacular explosion of soft colors. It’s happened nearly 70 times thus far, so probably …Granddaughter affirmed my hope New Year’s Eve.

This year, the 18-year-old adventurer climbed in her own car she’s paying for with her own money from her own job at a fast food restaurant and with a girlfriend drove to New York City. It was “a spur of the moment thing,” so they arrived late and didn’t see The Ball drop, and they arrived back home in fine shape.

When I graduated from High School, I went to the World’s Fair in New York City. My parents took me to stay with an uncle on Long Island, and I went to the fair with a couple of friends, one of which was my second I-wish girlfriend.

Which is not to say I never traveled alone to far away places. I read many books, and stuffed my mind with authors whose scenes were well researched and depicted. James A Michener, for instance, moved to live in the places about which he crafted his epic multi-generational tales.

And I flew in space, before we Terrans discovered space travel was dangerous. The Rocket still sits on its launch pad, about 100 yards from the house where I was raised, only a few light-seconds from adventure. To most people, it probably looks like a rock. A really big rock, but a rock, nonetheless. But to a kid with a penchant for books and Buck Rogers, it looked just like a rocket.

It’s big and gray and shaped something like a flying saucer on steroids – not quite as sleek as it might be, sort of rounded and bumpy. It has a slope up the back, up which the crew of one climbed to the flight deck, about five times as high off the ground as the average 10-year-old space traveler’s head. It came equipped with a state-of-the-art reclining lounger chair, carved by time and weather to absorb the G-forces of interstellar travel. It’s secret control panel lay hidden under the seat, where prying adult eyes could not find it – adults have been known to take the keys when it was time for chores.

Long before Clint Eastwood swiped Firefox from the Russians, some of us knew the power of thought-controlled flight. All that was necessary to plot a course to Mars or Alpha Centauri was to think the location, and Zap! — we were there. Any place we could read about in novels or comics was only a synapse-shot away.

I’ve done some serious traveling since those days on The Rocket, around the world in both directions. Remind me to tell about the time I was assigned to watch for the International Date Line so we could tie up to it.

One day, we will receive on our communicators an image of a huge ball of twine, about which Kass has dreamt since beginning to learn to drive. I’m looking forward to it.

Welcome, young explorer, to the world where some of the roads have lines down their middle, and some are only imaginary discernment leading to places you’ve never been. Be smart, be careful, and don’t be afraid of strangers. It’s an amazing place out there.

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