ZYTARUK: Ground control to Major Tom, get ready to rocket to mars

Psst…ever wonder how air gets born?

homelessphoto

So let it be written…

Sometimes, people tell me to go to hell. But I don’t think I’ll indulge them.

Instead, I’m bound for Mars.

At least my name is – and I’ve got the boarding pass to prove it.

My name, and the names of 10,931,327 other interplanetary adventurers, will on July 17, 2020 begin a 504,668,791-kilometre journey from Cape Canaveral to the red planet, aboard an Atlas V-541 rocket, courtesy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Our names will be etched on a microchip that will be installed on the Mars 2020 rover, which, if all goes well, should reach its destination, Jezero Crater, on Feb. 18, 2021. They say the diameter of this crater, which derives its name from a Slavic word for “lake,” is 49 kilometres, is rich in clay, and is thought to have been flooded with water at one point. Martian water.

But I knew that.

You might wonder how this all came my way? My son Noah arranged for it, bless him. He said he had to, seeing as his dad is the King of the Martians and all.

Noah and his twin brother Max are 19 now, and not much gets past them. But when they were wee lads, I’d tell them I was King of the Martians, and regale them with epic yarns of the big red ball and little green men that would do the Coneheads proud.

They’d sit cross-legged, looking up at me with “Really, Daddy?” faces while their mama rolled her eyes and shook her head.

This week, Noah saw fit to finally call my bluff.

My wife Jessy and I are blessed with two sons possessed of marvelous imaginations that were often put to good use during family outings. We’d pass through country fields, by cylindrical rolls of hay wrapped in pink or white plastic, and I’d say, “Oh look, it’s a marshmallow farm.”

This never got old, at least not to me.

Some of you might remember the cow tunnel off Ladner Trunk Road, that ran beneath Highway 99. It’s not there any more, but when it was, we’d drive through it real slow, with all the windows rolled down, and yell our heads off for the echoes. Great fun.

Have you ever been down 264th Avenue, east from the Trans-Canada Highway winding down into Glen Valley? Some awesome character put pumpkin cutouts in the trees along the route, and about this time of the year, it’s great fun for kids to count them as the leaves turn from green to gold.

Sometimes, I would stand amazed. Or swim, I guess. We’d go to Sungod swimming pool in North Delta, where there’s this little cove with water jets that merrily bubble away. The kids called it “Chicken Soup.”

“Daddy,” Max said, when he was a tyke, paddling in the soup. “Do you know how air gets born? Well, bubbles are air eggs, and when they pop, air gets born.”

This, folks, is the important stuff.

I guess the lesson here is, always find time for your kids.

And when you get older, you never know, they might even send your name to Mars.

So let it be done.

homelessphoto



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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