Jon Dawson: Bucklesberry sends man to space; kids head back to school

Jon Dawson: Bucklesberry sends man to space; kids head back to school

In every movie ever made regarding manned space exploration, there's always drama surrounding the ship's reentry into Earth's atmosphere. Also, today's the day many children in our area are heading back to school after seemingly floating in space for a few weeks.

Reentry into one's normal surroundings can be difficult after a prolonged sabbatical. Regarding space travel, this 2017 article from Forbes magazine explains why:

It is easy to penetrate the atmosphere quickly, and burn up like a meteor. The problem is to enter slowly. You can do that too, but it would take a huge amount of fuel with ordinary rockets. You can do it with aerobraking, including a surprisingly slow re-entry with an orbital airship; and there are some other ideas that may be possible in the not too distant future, such as a space elevator, or spinning “skyhooks”.

This is not the first time in my life that I've heard the term "skyhook". During my youth in Bucklesberry, the elders would tell stories around the tobacco barn of a neighborhood guy (we'll call him Scooter) who loved his adult beverages. He loved them so much he gave up time-consuming pursuits such as employment and bathing in order to track down every bottle of spirits in his time zone.

Scooter would magically appear on Friday afternoon, looking to work a few hours so he could make just enough money to procure more adult beverages. To get rid of the guy, the farmers would send him to town in search of something that didn't exist.

"Okay, Scooter, head into town and pick up a set of skyhooks," they'd tell him. "Bring them to us in the field when you get back."

Scooter would then head into La Grange searching high and low for skyhooks. Eventually, the shopkeepers joined in on the gag, having Scooter wait while they checked the stockroom.

"What size skyhook do you want?" they'd ask. "And do you want a left-handed one or a right-handed one?"

I don't know whatever became of Scooter; apparently he's writing for Forbes magazine.

As many of you are reading this, you're in the process of cajoling any number of children out of vacation mode and back into the school zone. Their reentry into the school zone can be tricky, with their young brains being at-ease for the past two weeks. 

Tax Deduction #2 gets a little worked up when it comes to tests, so she saw the Christmas break as a welcome respite. During this time she has been riding her bike, painting and making bracelets at a feverish pace. She also wrote Santa a detailed letter and sprinkled carrots in the yard for his reindeer - although this may have been a ploy to diminish the amount we'd make her eat. 

When she heads back to school today and wades back into those multiplication tables, her mellow might get harshed. In an effort to make this reentry as smooth as possible, The Wife periodically broke out the multiplication flash cards during Christmas break. TD#2 thought it impolite to do math while the Christmas tree was still up.

"If Santa sees me doing math, he'll think I'm still in school and won't stop at our house," she said.  The Wife applauded the effort and asked her what was 12x8.

TD#1 is in eighth grade and is enrolled in a few high school courses, which is stressful for me. It's not that the work she's doing is difficult, it's that I'm wondering at what point will she realize her father might not be smart enough to help her with it.

Anyone who'd like tickets to the Bucklesberry Community Theater's production of 'Daddy Pretends He Knows What He's Talking About', please contact me at the email address below.

TD#1's biggest hurdle upon reentry will be having to slither out of bed at 6 a.m., whereas over the past two weeks she's been an unconscious, drooling piece of furniture till around 8:30 a.m. A couple of times I instructed TD#2 to poke her with a yardstick to make sure she was still breathing. 

To prepare everyone, I suggested their alarms be set for 6 a.m. on Sunday to get them acclimated to an earlier wake-up call. TD#1 begged, pleaded, whined and complained that my idea was horrible.

"Please don't set our alarms for 6 a.m. on Sunday," she said. "It doesn't make any sense."

I told TD#1 she was right and that I'd let them sleep past 6 a.m. 

Their alarms were set for 6:01 a.m.

Contact Jon Dawson at and

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