I woke up the other night and was looking out the window at the stars. And I got to thinking about how when I was about seven, my Dad showed me the Big Dipper. I never forgot it. I remember especially coming in from the barn on crisp fall nights when the stars were out, and seeing the Milky Way, and smelling wood smoke, and finding the Big Dipper. One time when I was about 11 or so, there was an adult that was looking at a cluster of stars and wondering if it was the Big Dipper (it wasn't, he was maybe even looking the wrong direction), and I was shocked that there were grown up people in the world that had no clue how to find the Big Dipper or the North Star.
Another time I remember Dad and I had the binoculars out for some reason. And we decided to look at the sky through them. And even though it wasn't a high powered telescope, we did see stuff you can't see with a bare eye.
One time Dad was doing chores for a neighbor, and he dug me out of bed at 5 am to see something in the sky. I can't exactly remember if it was a spectacular display of Northern Lights, or the Hale-Bopp comet. I think it may have been both. I do remember that it was winter, and I was shivering and not exactly sure whether it was worth getting out of bed to see or not. But I guess it made an impression, because I remember it all these years later.
I also remember a complete lunar eclipse the occurred around the same time, and we stayed up really late to watch it.
Another time we were out doing chores, and there was a hard rain storm about a mile or so south of us. We were watching the clouds, when a little white finger dipped down and started spinning. That was rather exciting, even though there was no danger. I think we saw about four different fingers from that cloud. I remember that we were supposed to be hosting prayer meeting at our house that night, and Mom got rather frantic we wouldn't be ready in time because we were out watching the funnels.
I live in the woods now, and I can't see the Big Dipper very easily from my house. But whenever we get out to a clear view, I still look for the Big Dipper. So Dad, thanks for teaching me how to look for the small things in life. Someday I hope to be able to show my children how to recognize the Big Dipper. Happy Fathers Day!!!