3 Seconds and 12 Feet

3 days. 240,000 miles. Time and distance to the moon. 3 seconds and 12 feet. Time and distance in one picture. A girl and a space capsule.

1969. Armstrong and Aldrin. 2021. Doug and one girl’s imagination rolled into Nasa’s Artemis dream.

This was Wednesday after a few hours of slogging through a food truck event at a local Catholic school. I really enjoy these events. My food truck friends all meet at the school to showcase our aromatic culinary wares every other week at this location while donating a portion of sales to the school. Easy-peasy. Everyone wins. Unfortunately, though, my back, legs, and neck don’t win at the end of the day. Standing, bending, and old guy movements in general aren’t pleasing to the soul. By the time 8 p.m. comes ticking ’round the dial, I’m beat. Never used to be this way, but tong over-use is a thing at my age and grill-grind should be considered eligible for disability payments.

When the final soda can slides into its resting place and my van is full to capacity with a tired canopy and worked-over pans, I always find a few minutes to walk off the greasy strains … somehow. My body must un-creak the cracks from hours of compressed stress.

On Wednesday, I went over to the Artemis Capsule to sneak a peek. This friend-ship sits, comfortably, in a grassy field behind one of a few paved lots where gobs, tacos, grilled cheese, pork bbq, fresh squeezed juices, and, well … the best hot dawg & cheese-steaks in town are sold. All of us know each other well. Our orbit is small around this Blair County area, shall I say. There is no animosity among us.

Walking over provided me no de-stressing from individual problems with other food friends … because there are none. We respect one another. A simple saunter after most events – if even for a minute – gives me pause to unwind before the unloading of a van at my commercial kitchen … and the scraping, washing, rinsing, and sanitizing routine to come.

And so it was on a beautiful evening. A few adults and kiddos wandered about the capsule as I approached. A good friend, Jim, stood by as his young daughter laughed her way through the early dusk moments. Another father tried to reign in a rambunctious small son who didn’t seem to understand the gravity of his father’s words. “Come here, son!”, meant what it meant … Even at almost double the age of the father, I felt the urge to approach the dad myself and apologize for not obeying his orders. Kids being kids. Dads being dads. Just an average night to bookend another food truck event for me.

When I saw the capsule, an impulse to take a picture for this blog hit me. Why not, right? I’m always looking for something fascinating … an entity to capture a universe of ideas. It took a few minutes for the dads and kiddos to clear the grassy stage (time needed, btw, to knock the happy hassle out of my brain). Once that happened, I clicked a few shots. Pulling out of the lot a few minutes later, that was the day at St. Rose/Holy Trinity until a week from this coming Wednesday when it happens again.

This moment captured by my camera will not occur again, however. I didn’t notice the young girl when taking the picture. On Thursday, the surprise was there for me to see. There’s no need for me to re-write here what I wrote on my Facebook feed Friday, so here’s the post:

I can’t add too much today to what I wrote. Not seeing her Wednesday evening was a gift given to me … a surprise I didn’t see coming. Why she decided to position herself in that way I may never know. Did she do it on purpose? Who knows. To date, forty-eight friends like the picture.

I don’t judge my life based upon who or what numbers of friends like what I do. Life is what it is, regardless. To have the flexibility to get on the ground and actually get up without whimpering words of discomfort … like this young lady apparently can do … I’d certainly take at this point in my life – disregarding anyone who likes, or has an aversion to, cute pictures of space capsules. We should all live our lives expecting to be us and nobody else. I believe that is the message here. That is her lesson for us.

She wanted me to remember my life is special in the moment – and so is yours. We may not see it when the picture is taken, but soon after we’ll be pleasantly surprised. The lesson was this: Take-off the stress and give yourself some space to just be you.

Yes, only 3 seconds and 12 feet … but a well-deserved walk-away from what was another normal Wednesday evening. What a nice surprise.

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