I saw the Big Dipper this morning. In these last days before the time change, it is still quite dark outside when I shuffle out in my pajamas and sweatshirt to collect the daily newspapers. I saw dozens of stars, and the moon, as well, but right above our house I recognized the stars that make up the Big Dipper.
I stood there in the driveway for a while, gazing upward and remembering the first time my dad pointed out the constellations to me. Our family was visiting one of his fraternity brothers, and while the wives and the other kiddies stayed in the house on that warm summer night, I only wanted to be outside with my dad and his friend as they smoked their cigars and reminisced. We sat in lawn chairs in the back yard as the sky darkened and the stars appeared. It must have been darker there than I was used to because the sky was just full of stars. My dad pointed out the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper with the North Star at its tip.
I was fascinated. So much so that I went home and memorized a poem from a reading book my aunt had given me. She was an elementary school teacher at the time, and the book must have been from a series they were no longer using. I loved that book and read it from cover to cover many times. I knew right where to search for it in the attic today, and when I found it, the book mark I made probably fifty years ago was still marking this poem.
The Man in the Moon
The man in the moon as he sails the sky
is a very remarkable skipper,
but he made a mistake when he tried to take
a drink of milk from the Dipper.
He dipped right out of the Milky Way,
and slowly and carefully filled it.
The Big Bear growled, and the Little Bear howled,
and frightened him so that he spilled it!
And yes, I wrote most of that from memory. I am amazed at the things I can't remember from day to day, and equally amazed by what remains. I'm going to read my book now. Reading Today Series: Stories Old and New...