“Did you hear of the Geminid meteor shower tonight?” I asked my family at the supper table.
“Yes,” came the answer.
“Well, I want to go watch it tomorrow morning. Does anybody want to go with me?”
A little silence, then…
“I don’t know. I’d like to catch up on some sleep,” came from my dad.
“Same here,” agreed my brother Joshua.
“I’ll go with you,” exclaimed my 2-year-old sister Faith.
“No, I think you should stay in bed,” Mother told her. “But, John, I’ll go with you, and I think some of the others should go too.”
“If Mom goes, I will,” agreed Nathan.
“And I,” Anna Marie said enthusiastically.
“Br-r, it’s cold out here.” I shivered as I shut the door.
It was a cold, still December morning, probably around 25° F. (-4° C.). We brought out blankets from the house and settled down on the back porch where we had a broad view of the sky. We waited expectantly until Anna pointed with her finger. “Look, there goes one!” We looked, but, of course, it was gone. “Number one,” she counted.
“O-oh!” we all exclaimed when the second one proved to be astoundingly brilliant. “Number two,” we said together.
“Number three, four, five.” The meteors were falling thick and fast. Some of them were large and near, while others were so little and distant they could barely be spotted. More and more came, on and on. Then they slowed down again.
While we were waiting for more, we made out the forms of some of the constellations. We saw the tilted Big Dipper and the tiny Little Dipper, spotted the North Star, and saw a jet’s lights go by. Then we made different shapes and figures by putting imaginary lines between the brightest stars. We heard the dogs barking and…
“What’s that? Nathan trembled.
A white thing had appeared on the porch. Soon a similar object came after it. My mind raced. What could it be?
“Oh, I know what it is.” I laughed. “It’s the kittens! “Here, Kitty.”
The kittens had paused at the sound of my voice. Now they snuggled up to me, purring loudly.
We turned our attention back to the sky. The meteors were falling again. They kept on falling, and I kept on counting. I thought I now had a gorgeous number, but it wasn’t nearly what I would have in the end. Still they fell, looking like great drops of water glistening from a giant lamp, or like swift, upside down bottle rockets.
Once when a big meteor fell, a jet passed underneath, making it look like they had crashed. Of course, the meteor was a lot farther off, but it was neat.
Then “Sh-sh, I think I heard an owl,” I whispered.
We listened for it to hoot again, but it didn’t. Just then I saw the great bird flying overhead. Again it gave its eerie “whoo-oo, whoo-oo” and flew away.
Still the meteors fell, dropping out of the sky at a terrific pace.
“What’s that light in the house?” wondered Ann.
“It’s probably Mom,” I replied. “She’s a little late.”
Mom stepped out the door. “Are you seeing any?” she mumbled.
“Yes, yes,” my siblings chorused. “We’re seeing a lot.”
“Where? I’d like to see some.”
“Look, there went a couple.”
“Where? Oh, now I saw one.”
After seeing about three meteors (and getting a kink in her neck from looking up), Mom, who had been so enthusiastic the evening before, went back to bed.
As the sky was getting lighter, the owl flew past again, going back the way he had come, and we went back to bed.
All in all, my sister Anna Marie (age 8) saw 46, Nathan (age 6) saw 48, and I, John (age 11), saw 81 meteors.