I Shook a Hand That Was on the Moon

I Shook a Hand That Was on the Moon

Last year, I did something truly awkward in order to do something awesome.

It started when I spotted a photo of an astronaut on the cover of our local township’s newspaper. It was Charles Duke, who walked on the moon as a member of the Apollo 16 mission in 1972.

Actual first thought: “Oh em gee it’s Charlie Duke who got the measles and got Ken Mattingly kicked off the crew of Apollo 13.”

I’d never heard of the group hosting the event, and, after some intense Googling, discovered that it was basically a group for older couples to get together to discuss things that older people enjoy.

Well, call me Gladys and hand me a walker, because I’m going to this event, and I’m dragging my husband with me.

I even asked them if I could bring my six-year-old daughter. The woman I spoke to on the phone politely explained that, although children certainly are not forbidden from attending, they’d never had any children at any of their events.

So we bought tickets, waited an excruciatingly long two months, and showed up. We were the only people under 50. Several people asked us if they could help us find the event we were looking for, because no one could imagine that anyone our age would be interested. Fortunately, I’d roped my parents into attending too, so, once they arrived, people seemed to settle into the idea that my parents had dragged us along to the event rather than the other way around.

The meal was delicious, and then we listened to Mr. Duke’s fascinating life story, as told alternately by him and his wife Dorothy.

Note all the white hair.

He calmly talked about landing on the moon and driving around on it in the lunar roving vehicle, while I fangirled like a weirdo at the back of the room and took pictures on my phone.

There’s an actual ASTRONAUT who walked on the &$% moon.

When his presentation was over and the event came to an end, I’d like to say that I waited my turn in line calmly and didn’t panic babble about nonsense while my husband laughed at me, but that would be a total lie. Mr. Duke was pleasant, shook my hand, answered my nervous questions about his mission and how he’d gotten the measles right before the Apollo 13 mission. I told him about my daughter and handed him the moon card from her space flash cards set (because doesn’t every little girl have space flash cards?), which he signed for us.

Charlie Duke, Apollo 16
Charlie Duke, Apollo 16
Look at me, containing my excitement like an old pro. NBD, I meet astronaut legends all the time. *internal squee*

I was looking through my photos today and came across these, and I can never say enough times — I SHOOK A HAND THAT WAS ON THE MOON.