Welcome back. We'll try not to let the Planet drift off course again, but given your editor's unstable nature, no promises.
Things I'm thankful for. Yes, I know a lot of bloggers made their list last week, but I don't believe in rushing into things until I get all the facts. This holiday went off without anyone getting seriously injured. Except Molly, who twisted her ankle and needed x-rays. She's on pain killers and crutches, a potentially lethal combination if you ask me. But I'm not the doctor, am I.
Most of the family rolled in Thursday. These are Jenny's nieces and nephews and now the grand-nieces and nephews. Her sister's kids are an amazing bunch, all in service of one sort or another. A mother and son recently completed Basic Training. I can't imagine many families can say that. One of the family works for the State Dept. Another is in nursing school. Their brother, Jon, a man who has earned every salute he gets, couldn't make it this year and we hope he can join us next year. We miss him.
One of the high points of a great weekend was what happened Thursday night just shy of 9:30. My brother-in-law, a pilot and avid fan of the night sky, knew precisely what time this spectacular show would start so, at the appointed time, the family stood out on his front lawn and watched as the space shuttle and the the space station crossed the sky, 220 miles above our upturned, awestruck faces.
Two bright stars, one chasing the other at 17,000 MPH, crossed high over the horizon like a celestial car chase. Then, nearly two-thirds across the sky, they winked out, first the shuttle Atlantis and then close on its heels, the space station. They just disappeared, ducking the sun's spotlight by hiding in the earth's shadow.
That photo up there is by Hal Yeager of the Birmingham News. It's the closest picture I could find of the event. No slam on Mr. Yeager, but it doesn't do it justice.
A great moment of a very good weekend. I hope your holiday was as good.