THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 236
…“You know Dad, I don’t think I’ve ever told you how much I appreciate what you and Francine have done for us.”…
The future Mrs. Gus McKinney and current Mrs. Roy Crippen, Mindy and Francine are trying to be inconspicuously confident in their supporting roles. The two women from different generations have forged a bond, despite their age disparity or love for either of the Stellar Explorer pilots.
There will be no fanfare trappings surrounding an event that has attracted an inordinate amount of media attention. The principle players do not wave to the adoring throng or give lavish speeches touting this SOL engineer or that IFOS founding member, such is the focus on the 15 billion mile roundtrip ahead.
The principles have congregated inside the turbotransport for last minute briefings and technical interaction. The final personal exchange is between Roy and Deke, “You know Dad, I don’t think I’ve ever told you how much I appreciate what you and Francine have done for us.” His spacesuit precludes closeness, but his teary hug of the man who had raised two adolescent boys through to manhood, is applied with all his might. “I know that Gus feels the same way, even though he hasn’t done a good job of showing it.”
“You better stop before you fog over your facemask. Just go out there and makes us proud.” Roy was fighting back tears.
It was a strange time and place for the pouring out of hearts, though no one seems to mind. Such is the intensity of a moment that will go down in history as a pivotal moment in the future of an Earth’s place in the Universe.
It is a shame that Francine was not there to share in the hugs, as deserving of credit as she is. That she never had to fret over Roy in his astronaut days, does not diminish her role in comforting young Mindy, the wife-to-be waiting for her hero to return safely to her arms.
THE RETURN TRIP