Monday, February 27, 2006

Moon Chaser

My Dad has many interests. One of which, is astronomy. He follows NASAs activities closely. He is a member of the local Stargazers group and the Astronomical Society. One of his proudest accomplishments is that he helped manufacture parts for the very 1st Canadarm which they use on board the space shuttles. His older brother is an aeronautical engineer, his company was contracted to NASA to help develop the re-entry tiles used on the shuttles. These brothers both have similar interests in spacey things, and I think there may even be a bit of friendly competitiveness to see who knows more about the latest galactic endevours.

When we were kids,Dad would do slide shows. He would aim the projector at the wall and show us slides of galaxies and constellations. Every holiday we went on, my dad would locate the nearest astronomical observatory and take us to tour it. Usually this would be the highlight of the holiday for Dad. His eyes would light up at the idea of expanding our little minds. Sharing his enthusiasm with us, for things beyond this world. We could have had one more day on the beach or an extra few rides at the fair, but instead we would learn about Leonardo Davinci and mercury dishes.
In 1979, I was in grade eight. Dad took us out of school to drive us down to Washington to see our first TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE SUN. He loaded us all up with cameras. Educated us on the proper technique of viewing the eclipse, to prevent burning out our retinas. The build up was so thrilling. When it finally went dark in the middle of the day, an eerie quiet fell upon the land. The birds stopped singing. We asked him " Dad, its dark what do we take photos of?" His response... "Just keep snapping!" Of course later when we got the films developed, none of them turned up anything . So we had a couple dozen shots of DARK. Try scrapbooking that!

Dad, Carol and Cathy in France 1999.

Since then, he has seen a more eclipses. He traveled to Mexico to one. Then to France in 1999. That time he took along two of my sisters, Carol and Cathy, and James, Cathys Hubby. They made it quite an adventure. The morning of the eclipse, Dad was downhearted at the cloudy weather. Racing along the country roads to get out from under clouds . Dad would say "There's a bit of a clearing in the east. Lets go!" they'd all jump in the car and race towards the clear patch of sky. They chased out of the clouds all morning. Finally just as the moon began to block out the sun, they came to a clearing in the weather.

And, JDHW was able to knotch another eclipse viewing into his 'big eclipse viewing stick'.

In case you cant read the caption, it says...,

Daddy reaches totality after the eclipse.

Well folks, He is off again soon. On March 29th, there is a total eclipse occurring in Turkey. He has been planning this trip for years. He is flying to Manchester to meet up with the Astronomical Society from that area. Then he will travel with them to Turkey. I have no doubt that he will have the time of his life.

Dad says he fully intends on being around in 2044 ( I believe that's the right year). He will be 99. There will be an eclipse in Alberta that year, and he wants to live to see it. You know, I don't doubt that he will see it too. I suppose people could wish for greater wealth, fame, esteemed accomplishments. All this man wants is to see it go dark at the age of 99.

All photos in this post courtesty of Dad. JDHW.


Phyllis said...

How cute! Your dad chasing his rainbows!! Now I like to chase the northern lights!! I sit on my deck at night and stare into space just looking for anything out of the ordinary.

Walker said...

I guess to each his own. Your father has found something he loves to do and he goes for it. There are perks to like travelling to France.
I would go to France to see and eclipse and then Paris for a week. :)
I would have loved to go into space and look down on the Earth at least once

David said...

I think you love your Dad!

I personally would never go to France except to visit American graves, but to each their own.

Dick said...

A real key to happiness in retirement is having outside interests, giving us things to do with all the free time we now have. It sounds like your Dad is in a good position with his interests. There is a well known observitory not far from Tucson, AZ, where I will arrive a week from today. I would like to visit that observitory while I am in Tucson. I guess I share some of his interest in astronomy & I do travel with my telescope. The night skies here in Arizona are usually clear and since I prefer small towns, there is not a lot of extra light from city lights. It is fun.

Bobbie said...

You have an awesome dad! What a interesting hobby to have. Glad he shared his love of Astrology with his children.

Monica said...

How cool! Wishing your dad a safe and fun and successful trip! Hmm, what did he think of Mars being so close during 2003? Did he like that? I remember looking up at sky with my two younger children (Joshua was in Iraq).

Karen said...

How awesome is that?!! What a guy. Eclipses are indeed gorgeous, thanks for sharing those photos.

Have a great day! *HUGS*

FunkyB said...

Thanks for coming by to wish me a happy birthday! That was so sweet!

Ms. Vickie said...

Your dad chases the dark times and I try and chase them away, oh wait that is two different kinds of dark times I believe. :)

You have such a special family and share some of the most special stories with us. Thank you for the sharing you do. A very special person you are.

Jona said...

I saw the 1999 eclipse too! Waited blooming years fot it (as I can't afford to travel), and ordered the glasses months in advance. It occured the day after my eldest's fifth birthday, and the cloudy skies had me worried, but we were lucky and the clouds parted and I FINALLY got to see an eclipse :o) Unfortunately, my son doesn't remember it.

What a special Dad you have :o)