Jimmy on the Moon!
By Mike Stevens
A Jimmy Tilford Tale
10 year old Jimmy Tilford sat in his elementary school classroom, his mind drifting away from his studies. Today, they were watching old movies about the moon landings. Jimmy was supposed to be taking notes, but he was already on the lunar surface:
He thought that was the right word, but he wasn’t sure; in his daydream it was;
the orbiter settled down into the fine dust of the lunar surface. He would be the very first human being to step on a different planet. Technically, it wasn’t a planet at all, but a moon; the same Moon that could be seen on most clear days, from his bedroom window; and now here he was, about the be the first to ever step on the surface of an alien world. He thought back to his journey up to this point: He hadn’t been trained as an astronaut at all, but was randomly chosen from among thousands of entries of school kids from around the USA., and, much to his surprise, he was chosen to ride along on the voyage.
Jimmy knew that it would never have happened this way, but darn it, it was HIS daydream, and if he wanted to go to the Moon, this is the way it would happen!
As a student guest-astronaut, he was not supposed to touch anything, or do anything. He was here to observe, only, and write up his experience in a book report. He was a LITTLE nervous about speaking in front of his entire 4th grade class, but he would cross that bridge when he came to it. Anyway, he was watching like he was supposed to, when lead astronaut Wally Wyllie started complaining of not feeling well. As they neared the Moon, Wyllie’s symptoms only got worse. As he was the only astronaut trained to actually walk on the surface of the Moon, things did not appear good for them fulfilling their mission.
“Well, fellas, it looks like I’m going to be too sick to do the landing; I’m sorry, but I guess it’s not going to happen.”
Disappointment and bitter grumbling was the reaction of the other two. To come all this way, only to have the common cold defeat their carefully planned mission? Incredibly, there was NO backup plan. The landing would have to be scrubbed.
They had all-but-decided, and were resigned to calling off the landing, when Jimmy, who, up until this point, had remained silent, spoke up,
“Gee, I’d hate to see you come all this way for nothing; I’d be willing to take Astronaut Wyllie’s place.”
The three astronauts looked at each other.
“Well, Jimmy, it’s against all the rules. Just suppose we were to let you, and I’m not saying we would,” said Astronaut Wyllie, “I would hate like heck for something to go wrong down there, and we’d all be in big trouble for allowing you to go; I mean, no training? No, I won’t allow it.”
Astronaut Steve Benton spoke up, “Oh, come on Wyllie; we’ve come too far to give it all up know; after all, we’re here; there’s the Moon, we wouldn’t have to tell anyone. Nothing’s going to happen; can’t you bend the rules, just this once?”
Wyllie replied, “Well, maybe just this once. This should be radioed in to Mission Control, but I’m sure they’d say no. I’d hate to let you guys down, so Jimmy, here what you do...”
Their rocket having successfully landed on the Moon, having been given a crash (perhaps not a great word!) course in what to do from Astronaut Wyllie, Jimmy prepared tostep out the door. His space suit felt awkward, but it was necessary. He flung out the portable ladder, which kicked up a cloud of Moon-dust upon hitting the ground,
Jimmy wasn’t sure about a permanent ladder being already bolted to the spacecraft, so a portable one made sense to him!
and swung himself out the door, until he was now standing on the top rung of the ladder. He worked his way down the ladder, until he was standing on the last rung. This was it, his next step would be on the surface of the Moon! With millions of people watching on television, Jimmy stepped off the ladder and into history!
Imagine, him, Jimmy, standing on the surface of the moon; the very first human to stand somewhere besides Earth. He looked up into the camera mounted on the spacecraft, and said,
“That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind!”
Into his headset, Mission Control gave him the bad news. “This is Mission Control to Astronaut Wyllie; (Apparently, they couldn’t tell the size difference between a full-grown man, and a 10 year old boy!) we hate to have to tell you this, but your Moon landing was pre-empted by the news that Samantha Sweet and hubby Derek Dancer are expecting!” Jimmy was crushed; here was the biggest story ever aired my mankind, and it was pre-empted by the news that a reality show couple were going to have a baby. Unbelievable! “Earth to Jimmy!”
Jimmy plunged back to Earth, and became aware that the whole class was staring at him. “What, I’m sorry, my mind was somewhere else; could you repeat the question?”
Mrs. Westerhouse glared at him and said, “Apparently, you must have been on the Moon, because I’ve been trying to get your attention for the last couple of minutes, but you were somewhere out in space. I was asking you to tell us about what you just saw in the movie."
Oh no, he'd been lost in his daydream, and hadn't paid attention to the movie! He slowly rose, feeling every eye upon him.