What kind of a day was it in old Tuolumne County when man reached the moon?
For the benefit of future historians, let it be recorded that:
It was hot.
Unsmiling hippies looked gloomily out from under the trees in Sonora’s Courthouse Square.
Motorcycles darted along the highways, and there was grim evidence that a trip to the moon isn’t the most dangerous way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Few natives were on the streets. Those who did venture out of their homes found cool taverns with television.
Even the corner grocery store was quiet - except for the voice of Walter Cronkite.
Viewpoints were as plentiful as the watchers.
A Boise Cascade salesman dreamed out loud of Armstrong Estates, Unit No. 1 - quarter-acre lots with a crater view.
After three hours without so much as a rocket-pistol-whipping, a tube tied teenager predicted “this summer space show will never last.”
And fair manager, Bob Herburger, deep in a swirl of final arrangements for the Thursday opening of this four-day show, joke: “You think moon walking is something? Wait until you see the Aerial Baretis sway on top of a 125-foot pole and dancing Princess White Buffalo and the Pony Express Race and Copper Canyon Sal, the lady high-climber,and the queens…”
Bob, Bob, that’s enough. You’re interrupting Chet.
For most the drama of the situation was more than enough to sustain the show, and families remained clustered around their sets far into the night.
Sleepy-eyed, they staggered to their jobs this morning, for the President’s Moon holiday was observed here only in government offices. They were jolted awake downtown by teeming evidence that many of their fellow Americans were more interested in the holiday than in the nation’s $24 billion space effort. The coffee shops were jammed with tourists.
But apathy was the exception, of course. The general mood was a kind of prayerful awe of the “giant leap for mankind.”
A little of the day’s significance was captured shortly after dusk when an orange-yellow crescent appeared in the western sky.
That moon must have brought the same message to all who turned momentarily from their screens to look into the western sky. Some even spoke out:
“It will never look the same again.”