Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar eclipse = family fun.

During supper I declare, "Tonight the moon is going to turn red!"

The children eye me suspiciously. I am known for making wild claims.

Son (age 7) asks, "What exactly do you mean, the moon is going to turn red?"

"You'll see," I said. "Red."

Daughter (age 4) turns to her mother. "Daddy says the moon is going to turn red."

Mother wants no part of this.

After the main course, I say, "I'm going to go check on the moon." I stride to the front door, the children in hot pursuit. I go outside. They follow.

It's cloudy. We go back inside for dessert. Everyone forgets about the moon, except me.

Half an hour later I check the sky.

"Hey! The moon is turning red!" I yell in the open door from the front yard. No response. The children are watching a crazy Japanese cartoon with toys that turn into dragons and human characters that continuously scream at each other. I go back in. "It's red, now," I say. They're torn, but eventually come outside.

"It is red," says son.

"Mommy! The moon is red!" calls daughter. Mother is upstairs, out of earshot. I have dragged her outside to see eclipses before. I have dragged her outside to hoot for owls. She is tired of being dragged outside, but faced with daughter's powerful insistence must give in. We stand there, staring at the moon.

The thing about lunar eclipses is that they are not dynamic enough to hold your attention for very long. They're like mid-summer baseball, where you check back every few innings to see how things are progressing.

It gets darker. There is some discussion over whether or not this really qualifies as red. We settle on rusty. Then I think it's time to explain lunar eclipses to the children, and go through an old interpreter's routine with a flashlight. They are more interested in the flashlight than in why the moon is rusty.

Then, out of nowhere, a party-pooping cloudbank sweeps in.
We never saw the moon in full shadow.

I was the only one still up for the conclusion. By then the clouds had moved on. Years from now the children will reminisce about the time the moon was red. They will conclude it had something to do with a flashlight.


Cicero Sings said...

Keep trying good fellow, keep trying!

pookie said...

"They will conclude it had something to do with a flashlight."

My 87-year-old father laughed at this -- thanks. I'm grateful for anything that amuses or distracts him from depressingly brooding over his inability to do all things he used to do 30 years ago ...

Hugh said...

Thanks, Cicero, I shall.

And thank you also Pookie. I'm glad it raised his spirits a bit.