By Jeff Baker
We’d been playing tennis on the old court on the edge of town (the one without lights) until it got dark. We were far away from town so we could see the stars without interference from the streetlights. I could make out the Milky Way stretching across the heavens.
“Hey, look!” he said, pointing up with his racket. “There’s that comet everybody’s been talking about.”
“Yeah,” I said. It was dim and fuzzy but definitely had a tail and definitely wasn’t a star.
“What do they call it anyway?”
“Some anagram.” I said.
“Yeah, Comet NORAD or NORAD…”
“Or COVID,” I snickered.
“Smartass!” he said.
We stood and watched the comet.
“You know, my Granddad discovered a comet once, or at least, he took a picture of one.”
“Really?” I said.
“Yeah,” I said. “In 1956. LOOK Magazine. Picture of the tops of a bunch of houses with the comet in the sky overhead. Granddad had to climb on top of the house to get the picture. His Dad about paddled his butt. But they framed the picture from the magazine.”
“Wow,” he breathed. “Hey, this isn’t the same comet, is it?”
“Naah. That one won’t be back for a thousand years. Something like that. This one won’t be back for longer. Probably.”
“You know, I think by then they’ll have the lights on the tennis court fixed.”
We stood there and watched the comet move among the stars.