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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Early Morning Call. October 5, 2005

Hello Troops,
Before I created this blog I posted my stories and observations in a YahooGroup. That group is no longer used for posting and I'm afraid all those stories may be lost over time.

To preserve the history located in those older posts, I've decided to transfer them from the YahooGroup to The Troubadour where they can be read and enjoyed by our readers.

Therefore, the following story is a repost from the YahooGroup originally posted on October 5, 2005.

Mr. Williamson

The Early Morning Call

Early morning disturbances are the flavor of an overnight camp and its the flavor that stays on memory's tongue for years to come.

I was settled for my Friday evening `nap'. The overnight campers were in bed and quiet. The staff were asleep (including the high schoolers who feel going to sleep before 2:00 in the morning is a waste of social time). I was on my pad near the Voyager's doorway into the Briefing Room. For fifteen years I've spent nearly every Friday evening sleeping near this door on the floor. With me, my two pillows, my flashlight, my alarm clock, the Enforcer, and Taz - my Tasmanian Devil sofa pillow. Taz is our unofficial mascot for the Overnight Camps.

Sleep had caught up with me. So far it had been a good night. No crying kids. No sick campers. No staff shouting to each other as if they were separate by yards and not inches. Yes a good night.

Shortly before 3:00 A.M. I was pulled into consciousness by the ringing of the Center's telephone. Who wants to answer a telephone ringing at that time of
night? My experience tells me that a 3:00 A.M. call is usually bad news. At the Space Center these early morning calls are usually faxes coming in at a time the mass faxers think no one is around to turn off their fax machines to stop the unwanted advertisement for real estate or educational books some publisher has warehouses full of wanting to dump them onto the market at unbelievable prices?

Just in case it was an emergency I struggled to my feet and over to the phone.

"Hello," I said quietly. I looked around the room. There were a few that stirred but so
far so good. I used my hand to cup my mouth over the receiver hoping to quiet my voice.

"Hello," came a voice on the other end. It was a boy's voice. My next thought was a family emergency of some kind for me, a staff member or a camper.

"Can I help you?" I asked.

There was along pause. "I'm wondering when you have an opening for the Odyssey simulator?" he said. I looked up at the clock and rubbed my eyes. Yes it was a bit after 3:00 A.M. It was a first in my fifteen years at the Center. Either this kid couldn't sleep and wanted to call and leave a message - or this kid likes to call in the middle of the night to hear my voice on the answering machine (I've been told I have a very calming voice). Perhaps this kid though the Space Center was some international corporation which had its telephones manned day and night for our overseas customers.

"I'm sorry but its the middle of the night and we are running an overnight camp at the
moment. Could you call back in the morning?" I asked.

"Oh, all right....... bye," he said. There was a click on the other end. I put the phone
down and went back to bed. This place always amazes me. Just when you think you've seen or heard it all, some kid will surprise you.

Mr. Williamson
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