The whole family gathered around that old four-legged television set back on July 20, 1969. It was the first color TV we had in the house, and it was a big-time futuristic achievement in the eyes of a pre-teen.
But the marvels of color television were nothing compared to the moment that brought us together that night — my parents, two brothers and me.
Hours earlier, I watched with amazement as the lunar module named Eagle slowly crept across the moon's surface for what seemed like hours before finally landing. Now, Neil Armstrong was about to leave the Eagle and become the first human to step on the moon.
The whole country — really the whole world — was watching, too. America was about to win the space race against Russia.
Living in Huntsville and watching the race to the moon unfold, at least partially in our backyard, perhaps our interest was more intense. Plus, my mother helped build capacitors used in getting our astronauts to and from the moon.
It was just before 10 o'clock when Armstrong uttered the words that will live on long after we're gone: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
I'm not sure this country has been more united since.
Like most kids growing up at the time in Huntsville, in Houston and in cities along the Florida coast, it has been a dream of mine to someday walk on the moon. It's one of those fantasies that we all know will never happen, but it's fun to dream and wonder what it would be like bouncing around up there.
A couple of weeks ago, I discovered it's a dream that could actually happen. All I need is $1.5 billion and I'm good for liftoff.
Several former NASA executives are launching — pardon the pun — a private venture to send people to the moon. It sounds intriguing despite the price.
I just wonder if they have a two-for-one special because I'd like for the wife, son or a grandchild to tag along. Also, do you think frequent flier miles will get you a discount? Maybe they would shave $100,000 or so off the asking price if I promise to take only one piece of luggage or bring my own Tang.
If none of that works, I wonder if they'll set up a payment plan. At $200 a month ... Well, I guess that won't work, either.
It's still a dream worth dreaming. Can you imagine skipping around in the moon dust, exploring the rocks and, oh yeah, perhaps spending some time driving a golf ball or two? And it would certainly be good to feel like I weigh 45 pounds. Remember, I said this was a dream.
Given the price is a bit out of reach for a newspaper editor, I guess the dream will have to continue at least until the price comes down a little. Maybe, just maybe, we can go to the moon for an even $1 billion in another five or six years.