Thursday, July 7, 2011

Rain and Rocketmen (and women)

The last space shuttle of all time is scheduled to take off tomorrow morning at 11:26 unless the rain that started falling late this afternoon is still falling tomorrow morning. The weatherman says it probably will be and also on Saturday and Sunday. I think I heard Sunday's chance was 50-50 - as of this evening. You know how precious rain is. We want the rain, but here's to the astronauts on the shuttle and a break in the weather late tomorrow morning long enough so they can safely lift off and wide enough so we can see them go.
My new rain gauge - a birthday present.
It works!
Just as an FYI even though Ocala is pretty far from Cape Canaveral, if the shuttle takes a northern flight path - either taking off or landing, we can see the exhaust flame and contrail on take off and hear the sonic booms on landing. Very cool!! When DH and I lived in Orlando in eastern Orange County in a subdivision originally named Rocket City in the 60's, we could look out our front door, see that giant flame and hear and feel the rumble of those monster engines in our chests. When at work, DH would go up on the roof of his building which was closer to Disney and probably 25 miles farther away and still see, hear and feel the same thing.
'Souv de la Malmaison'
Once we were able to get VIP tickets and watch a launch from the causeway out on the Cape. Awesome! Magnificent!  
A wet 'White Maman Cochet' - my latest favorite

While we were living in Sarasota and DH was in Orlando for his job interview, I remember I was in the kitchen watching the landing of the first shuttle mission on April 12, 1981, filled with emotion, awe and pride that spilled out in my tears. Miraculous! I also remember a day of different tears after coming out of my bible study on that cold January morning in 1986, hearing that the Challenger had exploded and then living through the horrible depression that fell upon Central Florida and probably the whole country. What had been wonderfully thrilling launches and landings for the previous five years became terrifying and gut-wrenching for me when flights began again.
Our astronauts have been and still are incredibly brave and strong pioneers, and the scientists who are responsible for getting them into space are smart far beyond my comprehension. It's hard to believe there will be no more shuttle launches, and American ingenuity and capabilities will no longer be on display in such a grand way. Maybe they have not been big news in recent years, but I think the people of Central Florida have always held these men and women dear and taken great pride in them.

Godspeed, STS-135!
Final flight: Atlantis, July 8, 2011 11:26am


  1. First of all, happy belated birthday Sherry! Your rain gauge looks like a great gift! I love your
    'White Maman Cochet', too. The photos with the raindrops are so beautiful. Good luck to the astronauts of the space shuttle, may their mission be successful and safe.


  2. Only a gardener would get a rain gauge for a birthday gift!:) Happy Birthday. Your roses look beautiful with the raindrops.

    It's sad to say goodbye to the shuttle program. Hopefully, it will be a temporary goodbye.

  3. Sherry, as a boy who grew up with the space program and who at one time, like every boy my age, wanted to be an astronaut, the end of the Shuttle program feels like the end of the world. And I think everyone anywhere near our ages remembers where they were and what they were doing when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, when Challenger blew up and Columbia failed to make it back. The space program was the summation of our entire generation.

  4. Hope your birthday was wonderful Sherry!

    Dani from Under the Sun

  5. Your roses look great. Congrats on the rain! And I love that rain gauge! It's so hard to find one that will measure in .10ths of an inch. Happy Birthday. I, too, feel saddened that we will have no more space launches. Professor Roush said it very well.