When my grandma and grandpa came to visit everybody in Sevierville, we got to go up to Newfound Gap in the Great Smoky Mountains really late at night on the Friday night to watch Perseus star showers. I think that’s the right name for it but if it’s not, that’s okay because you guys can correct me by telling me I’m wrong in the comments section.
Anyway, we went up to Newfound Gap in two cars. Well, actually, one car (that’s my grandpa’s car) and one truck (that’s my Uncle Bob’s extended cab truck). It was really late at night and way past my bedtime (and way past bedtime for my three boy cousins, too) so we got to take pillows and blankets.
So we got to the parking lot of Newfound Gap and there was hardly anybody there except there were a bunch of cars on one corner and it looked like they were having a tailgate party because they also had hotdogs and stuff like that and plus they had flashlights to make sure nobody driving into the parking lot would not see them and you know, hit the hotdogs on to the parking lot pavement.
There was a couple other cars parked way down and they had old people like my grandma and grandpa sitting in chairs with blankets on them and looking up at the sky. And then there was us.
So my Aunt Sissy got all these sleeping bags out of the extended cab of Uncle Bob’s truck (I didn’t even know he had any of those back there) and she unzipped them and put them on the floor of the box (that’s the part of the truck that’s not the extended cab part). Then all the kids got to climb in with our pillows and blankets so we could lie down and look u at the sky and wait for the show to start (it was already started but you know what I mean).
Aunt Sissy got in the truck with us kids, except she was crossways so nobody could just get up and jump out and run around in the parking lot. Grandma and grandpa had fold-up chairs like the other old people, and they sat in them like the other old people, and covered up with blankets to stay warm just in case they started getting cold.
And Uncle Bob made me laugh really hard because when we were at the house still, he asked grandpa to park backwards in the parking spot. When we got to the parking lot and grandpa parked backwards, I found out it was so Uncle Bob could lie down on the hood of grandpa’s car and look up at the sky just like us kids.
Anyway, I got to see lots of stars getting thrown across the sky by Perseus (I don’t know who Perseus is, but he lives in outer space so he’s a space alien that NASA probably already talk to lots). It didn’t look so much like a shower. I think it looked way more like a really sparkly game of catch.
I saw lots of little streaky stars. I saw a few pretty big streaky stars. And the one that I loved the most was this humongous blue streaky star that was really, really big and went right across the sky so big that you couldn’t miss it at all.
Uncle Bob said that were going really fast in outer space — over 130,000 miles an hour. If that was Uncle Bob driving his truck, he would for sure get a speeding ticket except that I don’t think the police could catch him and plus, they probably wouldn’t see his license plate if he was going that fast.
Then he said that the comet that made the star shower got found by American astronomers when Abraham Lincoln was president of the United States, and it happened a year after the American Civil War got started. That was neat because the Great Smoky Mountains National Park where we were watching the star shower was opened when Franklin D. Roosevelt was the president (Robin Williams played him in two movies I watched on TV), and that’s another famous American president (Franklin D. Roosevelt, not Robin Williams).
And then Uncle Bob said was that astronomers think that way back about 2,000 years there was stuff written down about the star shower back then that were all because of this same comet, and astronomers even said maybe it was the same one that made the star showers happen in 69 BC (BC stands for before comets I think but I’m not sure about that either).
But the best thing is that Uncle Bob said that the comet is swinging back in this direction in 2126 and that means I’m going to be only a hundred and twenty years old and probably I’m going to come back to Newfound Gap with my grandkids to watch the star shower again!