To the left is a studio photograph of me that was taken right before the 1968 moon mission when Lovell, Anders, and Borman took the incomparable “Earth Rise” shown below.
As you know, I like to blog about science fiction and time travel, as well as love and fear. And you may be thinking the Christmas Eve Apollo Mission, with its iconic photo and the reading from Genesis, is the reason for that love of spaceships and ray guns. But oddly enough, it’s not. I was in awe of our astronaut heroes, to be sure, but I found my own globe that day, and I still explore it 44 years later.
You see, a red Christmas ornament hung from the family tree. I remember sitting under that pine (yeah, I was that small … or the tree was that big … or both) staring into the ornament as it hung on a low branch next to a huge, multi-pane window in our living room. We lived on “The Mountain” in those days, a magical era for those who know Huntsville.
That crimson globe was situated so it reflected the cedars and evergreens in our front yard. a corner of the wood cabinet TV set where we would watch that incredible moon mission, and a supernatural illusion of myself, sitting in a parallel world that was so close that I could touch it … almost.
And I remember that little boy wondering, How can I get into the world inside that Christmas ornament? It was the most beautiful red, much like the photo to the left.
And, of course, what I was thinking was not a revolutionary thought. Not by a long shot. It was not groundbreaking or ingenious. Ever since there have been reflecting pools and looking glasses, children have gazed inside them and wondered where that special world is. I was no different. Except … except that I am unique, just as you are. The images are mine alone, just as yours are yours alone. And my fascination with parallel worlds that are just like ours — only not quite — is why I do what I do. It’s why I’m enthralled by fantasy and speculative fiction. It’s why I ask, “What if?”
And …… It’s also why I try to inject humor when I can because, while I was mesmerized by that spectral image, my older brother crept up behind me and thumped me on the top of the head. “Yikes, that hurt!” I said. And it did hurt, but that, my friends, was also the best Christmas present I’ve ever gotten.
Have a happy and safe holiday season.
Peace, as always, from Keith.
Copyright © 2012, Alan Keith Parker. All Rights Reserved.