Linenger's Letters to his Son

April 18, 1997
I sleep soundly at night"

Dear John:

During a radio interview yesterday, they surprised me and had your Grandma Linenger on to say hello. She greeted me, told me that everyone was thinking about me, and that she can’t wait until I get home safe and sound. She sounded a bit worried.

The interviewer asked if I was worried, too. I answered honestly “no,” and told her that I sleep soundly at night. She observed that I sure sounded nice and calm.

The difference, I think, is one of control. Undoubtedly, orbiting at 18,000 miles per hour, in a vacuum, dependent on life support systems for pressure, oxygen, carbon dioxide removal is just cause for worry. But at the same time, the hazards are known to me, I’ve prepared myself to face them through training and study, and I have the experience of having overcome problems in the past through my own actions. Concerned, yes. Thinking of possible contingencies and how we, the crew, would respond, yes. Worry, no.

On the other hand, I do worry about you and Mommy--of your health, of your travel, of you falling down the stairs even! I’m out here in space and have no control over what happens down there. That is the difference, I think.

Plus, of course, that’s just how Mothers are, right? We are all fortunate to have them thinking about us our whole lives long.

Snapped a photo of Athens, Greece today. Used the biggest lens that I could find in order to try to spot you and Mommy. I saw clearly the harbor, some major roads (railroads?) leading from the city--but no Johnchek, no Kathryn. Just trying to keep an eye on you two. Glad the weather was nice for your arrival. We'll compare photos (Mommy's up close views and my space shots) when I return.

Happy travels. I’ll be watching over you.



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