By Howard Eskildsen
I gently gathered up “Bouncer,” my five-inch Maksutov telescope, and carefully eased it down the hallway and through the family room where my wife, Fairy reclined near the television. In passing I asked if she would like to see the thin crescents of the Moon and Venus through the telescope. With a quick glance she raised one brow and rolled her eyes.
“But honey, this is the last time that the Moon and Venus will be together in the evening sky for a long, long time.” I said, with a mischievous grin.
“No! I want to watch TV; now go away.” The pseudo-stern look on her face softened, and she chuckled as she added, “Have fun out there.” She had never shared my love of the stars nor other scientific interests, but she accepted them.
The Moon and Venus blinked through branches as I made my way across the front yard to a spot near the street where they came into full view above the trees. I photographed the thin, crescent Venus as it gleamed in the twilight above the western tree line. Next I turned the telescope and camera towards the crescent Moon a few degrees farther east. I barely had it focused when a voice called from the street, “Hi, what are you looking at?”
I explained to the young lady and her two children that the Moon and Venus took the same shape through the telescope. “Wow! Can we look too?” her 7-year-old son gushed. I put the camera aside and assured the hesitant mother that she and her children could look as much as they wanted. They took turns gazing at the moon with the young lad commandeering most of the eyepiece time. Then we turned the telescope to Venus which hovered just above the treetops.
“Oh boy, it’s like a miniature moon.” he exclaimed as he reluctantly yielded the view to his 10-year-old sister. Though much more reserved, she also marveled at the view. Finally the mom timidly approached the scope for a look, and then thanked me for taking the time to share the sight. The young lad had to have one more last look.
“That sure is a great telescope; where did you get it? I’ll bet it cost a thousand dollars.” He blurted. His mom apologized for his precocious prodding, but I assured her that no apology was needed. I explained that the telescope had been a Christmas present from my wife, and though it cost less than a thousand dollars, it had been a good guess.
“Wow,” he bubbled, “you sure are lucky to have a wife who buys you luxury telescopes!”
My skyward mind returned firmly, happily to earth as I thought of the loving lady who so solidly supported my pursuit of an interest that she did not share. Me lucky? You have no idea, kid.
© Eskildoodle 2021