Monday, July 20, 2009

Tanya Writes About the First Food and Drink on The Moon

Just finished: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by
Katherine Howe, Grade B+
Current read: Cranberry Hearts, Barbour Anthology

During that remarkable moon landing forty years ago today, the Apollo 11 crew had a variety of freeze-dried meals that needed a squirt of water and smushing around in the bag before eating. There wasn't any hot water aboard the Lunar Module. Sounds yummy , huh?

No surprise, maybe, that the first things a man ate and drank on the moon were a Communion wafer and a thimbleful of wine!

Presbyterian church elder Buzz Aldrin had been given a home Communion kit by his pastor in suburban take to the moon. The kit contained a wafer, a tiny vial of wine, and a thumb-sized silver chalice.

However, NASA had urged Aldrin not to celebrate the sacrament publicly. You see, atheist activist Madelyn Murray O'Hare had already made a giant stink and filed a lawsuit (Now, there's tolerance for ya!) because the Apollo 8 crew had read from Genesis for all the world to hear as their craft orbited the Moon on Christmas Eve 1968.

Instead, Aldrin radioed shortly after the moon landing, asking all listeners to observe a few moments of silence and give thanks in their own way.

He turned off the mike and administered Communion to himself while Armstrong watched silently. Aldrin poured the wine, read a few lines of scripture from a card, and partook of the Sacrament. It was many years before he told anybody about his Communion on the Moon. Today a recovering alcoholic, Aldrin is outspoken about his battle with alcohol and his 30 years of sobriety.

The little chalice that went to the moon was returned to Webster Presbyterian Church, now locked in a safe-deposit box. The church uses a replica chalice every year in a service celebrating the first moon landing forty years ago today.

Forty years ago tonight, I stood outside, chills rustling my spine on the hot summer night as I marveled that human beings were up there, so high. In this morning's paper, a local professor mentioned somewhat disheartened, that his 19-20 year old students disbelieve the moon landing, it was faked, a giant ruse.

Oh, the cynicism. Popular culture isn't a very fun place to be sometimes.

1 comment:

Helen Hardt said...

That cynicism annoys me, too. Revisionists also like to preach that the holocaust never happened... Right.

I wasn't yet five years old, but I remember the landing. Amazing.

And another gorgeous photo. Where do you find them, Tanya? I'm picturing that one on the cover of a werewolf tale...