Trip to The Moon
I think it was Thursday afternoon that my 3 ½ year-old son and I had been riding bicycles in the driveway. He got tired of this activity or wanted a snack. Usually when we eat a snack outside, we climb into his playground tower and eat it there. I’m not sure whether that’s why we were in the tower Thursday evening, but we were up there. The tower’s got a steering wheel, and my son said, “Daddy, you drive.”
“Where are we going?” I said.
“I don’t know; you tell me,” he replied
“Let’s go to The Moon.”
The steering wheel is made of molded outdoor plastic. If I’m picturing it aright, it’s got three spokes and a central hub. The hub is the button that makes the vehicle stop. Each of the steering wheel’s spokes has circular depressions or spots molded into them. I pressed these in a particular sequence that I won’t be able to remember again, and, after we’d fastened our seatbelts, we drove to The Moon.
After about 30 seconds and some rocket-sounding noise, we landed on that satellite’s unfamiliar selenic crust. “What do you see?” I asked my son after we’d looked around a bit from the tower.
“Doggies!” he said, and “Get them!”
So I exited the lunar module via the handy attached slide and promptly captured two juvenile specimens, or moon-puppies. Probably because the only natural satellite orbiting the Earth is about a quarter of the planet’s size, all of the animals living thereon are much smaller than their Terran counterparts.
The small beasts were easily gathered; puppies, one in the palm of each hand. I held them behind my back as I stood looking back up the slide at my son standing in the lunar module’s airlock, looking expectantly out.
“What’ve I got behind my back?”
“I don’t know. You tell me.”
Bringing my hands back around slowly I told him, “Two moon-puppies – Enu and Nanu.” And I handed them to him. The names were not my own invention. My father, I recall from my own childhood, whenever he wished to describe by mimicking the sounds made by infants, would have them voice, “Eenoo-Nahnoo.” Odd, and I never understood why he thought those were the sounds made by the very young, but I never forgot them, either.
Certainly, my son was delighted by the appropriate-for-space-dogs names. And of course, he’d heard me make those sounds to him from the time he was very small, so they must have been familiar to him, if only subconsciously.
I handed the small, invisible, and entirely imaginary dogs up to him. Taking them, he held them up against his face in a sort of hug, and petted them. When I clambered aboard the spacecraft using the ladder on the other side, he said, “Let’s take them home with us.” So we did.
The following day, we returned to The Moon where we allowed the dogs to visit with their parents, siblings, and friends. Also, because they are from The Moon, they needed to consume special moon-food in order to remain healthy. When my boy slid down to the lunar surface he held the imaginary creatures in his hands, palms up. With a sad face, a slight upward motion and a glance at the sky, he indicated that his spaceling pets had flown up and that he would miss them.
“That’s okay,” I said, “We can come back and visit them again tomorrow.”
And the next day, we did, bringing them back to earth again for another visit.
Yesterday we took them back to The Moon so they could again visit and consume sustenance with their kin. My son’s demeanor was as sorrowful as upon the last occasion he had to let imaginary Enu and imaginary Nanu go home.
“No problem,” I said knowing that the rules of time are altered for the smaller creatures of The Moon and also because time in space for those traveling from their backyards is malleable according to the felt needs of the moment, “They will be done feeding and visiting in a couple of minutes, and their parents don’t mind them staying with us for awhile.”
They’re here now, and are the only dogs I’ve ever known who don’t make me allergic or render by their defecations the backyard unusable.