"One of these days, Alice! Pow! Straight to the moon!"
One of these days came 50 years ago today. Pow! We went straight to the moon.
Oddly enough, it wasn't Ralph Kramden's fist that got us there. No, it was three brave astronauts who climbed atop a gigantic Saturn V rocket four days before, blasted off into the heavens and took the whole damned planet with them for a lunar joyride.
July 20, 1969. It was a Sunday. I was 8 years old -- almost 8 and a half. Halves are very important when you're 8.
That day -- POW! -- straight to the moon. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins got there with Apollo 11. I suspect they kinda knew that I (and a few billion others) had hitched a ride on their rocket ship.
This episode of the Big Show has the moon on its mind, a way to remember the greatest thing mankind has done and give thanks to the three men who did it . . . and all the thousands of men and women who got them there.
In fact, this week's 3 Chords & the Truth doesn't have a single song that isn't a moon song. And they're all good. Fittingly good for an Apollo 11 anniversary program.
PUTTING THIS particular edition together put me, in a very real way, back in time. Back in our living room at 10645 Darryl Dr. in Baton Rouge. Back in front of the black-and-white, 21-inch Magnavox television tuned in to CBS and Walter Cronkite. Back to when I was an elementary-school spaceaholic, the one with all the Gemini-mission stickers all over the dresser mirror in my bedroom.
The 1960s were fraught times, like our own today. But a big difference was hope. We had hope. We knew we were better than our struggles and our national squabbles and missteps, and we had hope that, someday, we would overcome.
We have yet to overcome and, indeed, we're backsliding. Today, we have a lot more Trump than we have hope.
BUT LOOKING BACK at Apollo 11 and those first glorious steps on a strange world, we know what the better angels of our human nature look like. And when we look up into a moonlit sky, we know that for those better angels, the sky is the limit.
And in an age seemingly bereft of heroes, we only have to look back within the lifetime of your broken-down old radio guy here to see a whole big bunch of them -- heroes who touched the moon, if not the stars.
For that, we give musical thanks.
It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.