Friday, 15 January 2016

Meeting Chris Hadfield a.k.a. a Canadian Super Hero


        As you already know I am so far behind in my blogging.  I honestly don't know what happened and why I stopped writing.  I guess the why doesn't matter, but it more matters that the writing bug has bitten again.  Although the writing well had gone dry, I still added pictures to drafts, just in case, and I'm awfully glad I did.
    Last June I seen an add about Chris Hadfield coming to Hastings, a pretty little town a little ways from here.
    Coincidentally just after reading that Chris Hadfield was coming to Hastings we hosted Riley and Rowan's Jazz band for a barbecue at our house to celebrate a great year.  At that time the Gateway Jazz coordinator was Kira Mees.  Kira is this amazingly perky ball of positive energy.  Kira as well as being our coordinator, and a perky little ball of energy, is a resident of Hastings.  At the barbecue I asked Kira if she knew anything about this Chris Hadfield event in Hastings.  The response was something like "Do I, I am one of the organizers.  We need volunteers to help."  Ok that wasn't really what she said, but you get the gist of it.  I volunteered Grace and I to help, and the rest as they say is history.

    I'm not a real astronomy nut, as a matter of fact much to my poor husband's (who took a university course on astronomy) dismay I frequently interchange the words "astronomy" with "astrology" (and no I'm not blonde).  The reason that I was so keen on this event was because of Christopher's love of astronomy that he passed along to the kids.  Back a few years ago Riley and Rowan's class took part in the sing along with Chris Hadfield in space thing (ok I know that's not what it was called).  They sang that song constantly, and it was such a beautiful song.  All they could talk about was Chris Hadfield and traveling into space.  It was a wonderful feeling seeing the kids have a hero who was Canadian and who was doing so much to educate the world.  After Chris came back to earth he began doing a speaking tour.  I so much wanted to buy tickets and take the kids to meet this hero, but everyone of the events boasted and astronomical cost.

    The big day finally arrived.  Poor Christopher had to work and was devastated.  We had bought one of the Chris Hadfield books for Christopher for his father's day.  We took it with us to get it signed.
    WOW is all I can say about listening to Chris Hadfield speak.  If you ever have the opportunity to see him speak GO.  That man is inspirational.  He is just the person that you want to inspire our children.  He was so honest that is was so refreshing.  I'm not sure what I thought I would see when I went there, but the real thing blew every imagination out of my head.

    To understand how fantastic Chris Hadfield's accomplishments are you really need to put this whole experience into perspective.  Col. Hadfield was born in 1959.  Yuri Gagrin was the first man in space in 1961.  Neil Armstrong walked on the moon July 21, 1969.  Space voyage had up until then been science fiction, much like time travel is for us.  Even after there were more space missions, space travel was done by the Americans and the Russians, and Chris Hadfield was a Canadian boy.  He knew (much like probably every other child who watched that first moon landing) that he wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up.  Unlike the other children who fantasized about suiting up in that fancy white outfit, he had a plan.  He knew from childhood what he wanted to do and set about putting everything into place to make his dream a reality.  Yup, I think that is exactly who I would like to inspire my children.
    I personally sat listening to this great Canadian speak and answer questions from the crowd.  I sat there in awe.  I was so impressed and so proud of this amazing Canadian.  He was smart and he was real.  When I say "real" I mean not a phony.  He was not this touchy feely, fake guy standing up there.  He did not stand there and make light of his amazing and almost impossible accomplishments, nor was he a braggart.  He stood there and spoke about his accomplishments and his regrets.  His greatest accomplishment he said was not space travel, but rather when he sang with all of those children in Canada.  I sat there in the audience my mouth open like the letter "O", hanging on his every word. 
    After the talk / lecture part of the evening there was a book signing.  I had volunteered Grace and myself to help with the book signing.  We stood expediting the line. As I stood there I watched all kinds of characters go by.  Some were just average Joe's like myself, some were space nerds, some were just weird.  Every person no matter who they were, Col. Hadfield spoke to.  He even at one point shook this young teens hand and told him to do it again, only this time use a more firm grip because a good handshake was important and told the world about who you are.  WOW.  Some of the people were star struck and clearly shaken to see a celebrity up close and personal.  "I can't believe I'm shaking Chris Hadfield's hand" was uttered a few times.  Part of my job was to ask the people what they would like Col. Hadfield to write in their book and write it on a sticky note and put it on the inside of their book to speed the line up.  Oh my goodness if you could only have seen the crazy things that people wanted this man to write in their books "To Joe, a wonderful guy", "Hey Spaceman", some of them wanted this poor man to write them their own novel I think.   I waited patiently for the nearly endless group of people to make their way through the line so that my kids could shake this hero's hand.  They made their way from the back of the line to the front.  They handed him their books and asked him to inscribe them.  He read the little yellow post it out loud "To Daddy Doodles?" he asked them his head cocked to the side.  "Aww is this for your Dad, that's so sweet".  He talked to them, and shook their hands, and made my day.  Oh who am I kidding made my year.  No I was not one of those star struck people, it was an honour to shake his hand, but I know that he is a real person, and I think that is what made it all the more impressive for me.
    So you may have noticed my "Canadian Super Hero" in this blog title.  This is not me being my usual larger than life self, I truly believe that is what Col. Chris Hadfield is.  He made the space program more accessible, and in turn made science interesting.  He made us raise our faces upward to the skies.  He sang in space for goodness sake, he put on a concert of sorts and asked Canadian children to join him.  He has taught us to love our world, and to be ever so proud to call ourselves Canadians.


    As a Post Script..... Thank you Kira for allowing us to part of such a life altering event, oh and your Field House is an inspiration to the rest of us.


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