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Ron Column Apollo 8
By Ron Rogers

We all have favorite Christmas memories of people and events that occurred during holidays past. My favorite was Christmas Eve 1968.

It stands out to me a lot. I’ll never forget it. 1968 was a bad year. The war in Vietnam, the assassinations of MLK (Martin Luther King Jr.) and RFK (Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy), social unrest, the Democratic turmoil in Chicago and a close election for Vice President Hubert Humphrey vs. Richard Nixon, with Nixon squeaking out a narrow win.

On Christmas Eve, my mom came home from work at a women’s wear store in Willow Lawn shopping center in Richmond, Virginia, called Bunnett. It was Christmas Eve. They had a party with food, champagne and a Christmas bonus for the employees. Mom usually would ride the bus home, but on this event, they sent her home in a taxi.

When she got home, she said to me, “Hey Ron, come walk with me to Standard Drugs. I have to pick up a few more things.” So off we went up Cary Street as it was getting dark. When we got there, mom started to get the items she wanted to get. I even got some comic books in the deal.

That night, the TV was on. The Apollo 8 astronauts were circling the moon for the first time. It was really something to behold. What stood out, of course, was that this was a historic mission. The astronauts on that flight were Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders. Before signing off the live broadcast of the event, the crew read a passage from Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

Whew! Talk about historic. It was something about that Christmas Eve that will always stay with me. It was just a good feeling after a really bad year. I’ll also always remember me and my mom, walking up Cary Street on Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas!

Ron Rogers is an editorial cartoonist whose cartoons appear in The Chronicle.

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