Love at first sight. Does it really happen? If you don’t believe that it does, then I suggest you keep reading. In 1917 a young man by the name of Tommy attended school in the tiny town of Hydro, Oklahoma. It was there he was introduced to and fell in love with Miss Mura. Tommy was smitten. They were both in the 2th grade.
Tommy's first date with Mura was May 1st, 1921. They made May Day baskets and secretly delivered them to people by putting them on their front porch, ringing the door bell and running away. When the last basket was delivered, Tommy and Mura hid in the bushes to watch the surprised expression of the recipient of the basket. Spontaneously Mura threw her arms around Tommy and kissed him. It was then he proposed to her. They were in the 6th grade.
Over the years Tommy courted Mura telling her that he wanted to marry her and all the while promising to forever take care of her. He told her he would give her the moon if he could. They married in 1937 and Tommy made good on his promise of always taking care of Mura. They came to live in Albuquerque in 1939. Although Tommy did keep his promise of forever taking care of Mura - financially, emotionally, and spiritually, he always felt there was another promise that he hadn’t kept – he hadn’t given her the moon.
For their 65th wedding anniversary Tommy decided it was time to give Mura the moon. And where does one go to get a piece of the heavens? Well, you can't just call NASA. And how much does it cost to buy a piece of the moon? Tommy was willing to do whatever it took and pay whatever price to keep his promise to the love of his life. Unfortunately moon rocks don’t go on sale.
But it stands to reason…the universe always takes care of things.
An opportunity came Tommy’s way through the planetarium that is at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. It was an opportunity so perfect, that Tommy jumped at it. With the help of New Mexican Harrison Schmidt, the geologist on the Apollo 17 mission, the perfect rock was chosen.
In a little black case, arriving at the Albuquerque Sunport by way of Houston, handcuffed to an astronomy center employee, and sparkling in all its glory, was a gorgeous specimen from the moon.
I was privileged to be at work at the planetarium the day that Tommy gave this gift to his wife . The young grade school girl came shining through Mura’s tiny and frail 90 year old body. She asked if she could cut off a piece of the rock and make a ring so that it would always be with her. It’s a shame that could never happen. Tommy was glowing that he made good on his promise of giving Mura the moon and there were big bear hugs and kisses for everyone.
The lovely Miss Mura passed away over Thanksgiving of last year. To honor the lasting legacy of their love, our planetarium manager created a private show about the moon for Tommy a few months ago. While in the planetarium watching the show, Tommy held my hand. And when a picture of Mura came up on the dome, he whispered, "Look at that sweet girl." I lost it. I couldn't hold back the tears.
It is with incredible sadness I learned that Tommy passed two weeks ago. He was 97 years old. I know Tommy is back with the love of his life giving her one of his famous bear hugs. We will miss you Tommy and think of you when we see the moon.
Moon rock photo courtesy of Jon Knudsen.