Happy Orbits, Major Astro

The following blog entry was originally posted on September 21, 2009. For anyone who grew up in Kansas in the 60s and 70s, Major Astro was an after-school staple. Tom Leahy, Jr. played the galactic explorer for a generation of cartoon-crazed youngsters. Mr. Leahy, 87, passed away on Friday from complications of open-heart surgery. Godspeed, Major!


Somehow, The Hubster and I got on the subject of afternoon cartoons like Felix the Cat. As far as I am concerned, the consummate authority on afternoon cartoons was, is and will always be...Major Astro. Every day, after school, my brother and I raced home to catch Major Astro on KARD Channel 3. We loved Johnny Quest, Snagglepuss, Yogi and BooBoo, and all the rest, but Major Astro was our aeronautical icon. And I shook his hand!

It happened on one of the many visits our junior high choir made to Wichita television stations. The Derby vocal music department trotted us around to all the daytime local shows whenever we were preparing for a concert. One day, as we were walking down the hall toward the studio, a figure approached. A tall, commanding figure with a faraway look in his eye. Forget that he was wearing a sport coat and tie, it was him! It was MAJOR ASTRO!!!

After he extricated himself from the dogpile of prepubescent songsters, Major Astro was happy to sign autographs, shake our hands and answer about a million questions. That, my friends, was a very good day. Yes, The Hubster has traveled the world, eaten dog in the Philippines and flown in a helicopter with no doors, but I met Major Astro. So...we're even.


My friend, Dee Page, told me about a God-Incident she had last week. No, not a coincidence, a God-Incident. Dee attends my mom's church in Derby; the church in which I grew up. If you remember, Dee and my mom accompanied me to the book signing at the Derby Public Library a few weeks ago.

While driving to the library, Dee told me about a book she wanted to replace. She had lost "Out to Mitford," by Jan Karon, the first book in the Father Tim series. After loaning it to a girlfriend, this friend became sick and passed away. That was several years ago when Dee lived in Wichita. The girlfriend's daughter wasn't a very nostalgic sort, so she simply donated everything in her mother's house to Goodwill.

Dee loves books and always buys hardcover copies. She puts her own personalized bookplate on the inside cover and usually gets the author to autograph. The Jan Karon book was a gift from her niece, Barbara, and contained a lovely note from her. Dee resigned herself to the fact that the book was gone.

I promised to check Amazon.com to see if I could find a replacement. Since it was out-of-print, the cheapest used copy was $136.00. Mom and I agreed that we should wait to purchase a copy until the cost came down. I put a note in my Amazon wish list and promptly forgot about it.

Last week, Mom was in Derby doing a little shopping at a small used bookstore. She's a reader, too. (That's where I get it from!) Mom noticed that they had a few Jan Karon titles, so she perused the aisle. There it was, a hardcover copy of "Out to Mitford." Mom snapped it up and headed to the register.

After making her purchases, she called Dee on her cell phone and asked if she might drop by to show her something. Although Dee said that she was a mess, Mom persisted and drove right over. Taking the book out of the shopping bag, she placed it in her friend's hands. Dee was so pleased to see the book and thanked Mom graciously. Mom said, "Open the cover."

And that's when Dee saw that the book in her hands was HER BOOK, complete with personalized bookplate and lovely note from Barbara. Somehow, with lots of help from God, Dee's book had made its way from a Goodwill store several years ago, to a Derby bookstore, and from my mother's hands, back into the hands of the original owner. Ain't God good?


Female in Motion Exercise Update: Last week I did four aerobic workouts and three sets of hand-weight calisthenics. The food diary is starting to pay off, I lost 1.5 pounds last week.


Notable Quote:

"Happy Orbits, boys and girls ... Everything will be A-Okay and all systems will be go."--Major Astro, aka Tom Leahy, Jr., 1922-2010
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