... "push me," walker so very politely demanded, he who only a short time ago would become quite nervous if the chains swayed more than a foot or two from the vertical, now he was most insistent, "higher ... higher ... higher, mister grow-low" ... from the deep recesses of my mind the refrain stirred the sweet voice of a little girl, "higher ... higher ... higher, daddy," soon to be chorused by another voice, one a bit more stridently commanding, "higher, dad ... higher ... higher ... higher" ... and then—
—then came a tiny voice i didn't recognize at first, muted, as if buried beneath all the voices i've ever heard ... giggling—laughing—unabashedly screaming, "higher ... higher ... higher, poppa" ... it was then in the small of my back i felt the powerful presence of him pushing me ...
... so i cried, because, after all, even if it was a long, long time ago, what else is there to do in the remembrance of he who, teaching it was perfectly acceptable to defy gravity, served booster rocket a little boy's first flight to the stars ...
"Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
- Put out my hand, and touched the face of God."
JOHN GILLESPIE MAGEE, Jr.