Jim watched in silence as the blue orb rose in his view. The craft had already made a number of circuits around the moon, but each planetrise was a new experience. His home had never looked so insignificant, and yet from here, more than two hundred thousand miles away, the homeward pull had never been greater. He could well imagine what it was like for geese, migrating south for the winter. They had no gyroscopes to keep them in the air, no compasses to give them direction. They felt only the pull, as inexorable as a magnet to iron. They could not resist.
And yet, here he was. Resisting.
sure is somethin', isn't she?" Frank commented. "A few years ago, she
was all we'd ever known, and now here we are -- pioneers on the frontier
Jim nodded. "Nice suggestion on the transmission, there."
shrugged. "Hey, with largest listening audience in human history, and
the Brass not giving us any explicit instructions on what to say --
well, could you think of anything more appropriate than Genesis Chapter
Jim thought about it for a moment, then smirked. "At Christmas time? Luke Chapter Two."
"Yeah, that'd go over like a lead balloon," Frank scoffed. "We'll be lucky if the hippies don't eat our lunch as it is."
worry too much, Borman," he said, half to himself, once more entranced
by the Earth, so near, and yet, so far. "God has never been more
sovereign than He is right now, with His creation reaching out to the
stars. I mean, the Summer of Love is less than a footnote in the face of
Eternity. As infinite as outer space is," he slowly swept his hand
across the thick glass portal, before jabbing a thumb at the Earth and
continuing, "do you really think the Almighty is to be
thwarted by a bunch of flower children?"
"I'm just sayin'," Frank said with a smile, throwing up his hands in mock surrender.
"Hey fellas," Bill interrupted, sighing. "I got good news and bad news. Good news is that we've got phaselock."
"Bad news is we got gremlins," Jim said.
"Yeah. No voice or telemetry."
just like that, the joyous yuletide was invaded by work, where problems
didn't just go away, the hapless victims of a Christmas miracle. Jim
was blessed that this work wasn't drudgery, but it was work,
nonetheless. "What time is it?"
"About 0620 Greenwhich," Bill replied.
one back home," Jim commented. He stared at the Earth from behind an
upstretched thumb, wagging the digit right and left, covering and
uncovering the blue sphere in his vision. "The kids are nestled, all
tucked in their beds, sugar plums and all that. Mary's lying on the
couch, half asleep, listening to the squawk box and waiting for us to
reestablish contact. Santa Claus' skipping from rooftop to rooftop..."
"Hey, now there's an idea," Frank teased. "The crew of Apollo 8 finally confirms the existence of that jolly old elf."
"I'll do it," Jim said with mock seriousness. "Watch me."
"I dare ya."
smiled once more, lowering his thumb and looking full at home. The
brown and green of the landmasses stood out brilliantly against the
blue, but the cloud cover made the specific continents unrecognizable,
at least for now.
matter. At that moment, at the dawning of Christmas Day, every square
inch of that blue orb was home to Jim Lovell. He sighed longingly,
whispering, "And to all, a good night."
Here's a Youtube Link to the Apollo 8 Christmas message, which served as inspiration for Jeremy's story.
Jeremy Bullard is an author, an amateur singer/songwriter, a hobby
knifemaker, a TV buff, and a recovering MMORPGamer. He has been
involved in various creative pursuits for as far back as he can
remember, counting his relationship with Jesus Christ and his devotion
to his family as the greatest of these endeavors.
nature and fascination with extreme possibility led him quite naturally
to science fiction and fantasy fandom. This attraction has colored the
full spectrum of his writing, spurring him to pieces ranging from
Stephen King and Quantum Leap fan fiction to Twilight Zone-esque
monologues to finally releasing a project based in a world completely of
his own making.
Jeremy lives in Southeast Alabama (also known as
"God's Country") with his beautiful wife, three incredible kids, and
two smarter-than-the-average dogs -- one of which knows how to open a
screen door from the outside. Still don't know how she figured that one