Friday, February 18, 2011

A Diamond Story

A guy who lives nearby read my "Diamonds" column in the local paper Sunday and left a voicemail earlier this week saying he had a story that I might be interested in. I've been so busy, I had not had a chance to return his call.
When we talked today, I learned that he spent time in the Navy. As I listened he told me one of the responsibilities of his Naval unit was to retrieve NASA space modules from the ocean when they returned to earth from space missions.  
In a voice as deep as a toad, he told me his team retrieved the Apollo 11 module in July of 1969. My mind jerked into gear as I realized that Apollo 11 was the mission where man first walked on the moon!  As it turns out, he was the first to welcome Neal Armstrong home (in person) after his moonwalk.
He said he had pictures and other items of interest. I can't wait to do this story! I'm going to try and video tape the interview if he doesn't mind, and see if I can put together a short piece.
The fun begins!

On another note, I mentioned several times that I'd met author Rick Bragg at last year's Read Alabama Event sponsored by Bevill State College. He's written several very successful books, but he was also a feature writer for some prestigious newspapers. While writing for The New York Times, he won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of feature stories he wrote.
Click the link below to see the stories The Times submitted on his behalf to the Pulitzer committee. You tell me if you think this guy can write.

Y'all have a great weekend.


  1. Man, all this is so exciting! I'm happy for you.

  2. Anonymous8:25 PM

    Whoa, that is too cool! How awesome of a job would that be? It be like sci-fi heaven! :D Congratulations on getting the story!

  3. You live a charmed life. SMILE

  4. That should be a great interview. Good luck with it.

  5. What a fascinating piece of history!!! Writing about it should be real fun! I think I'd just like to hear that guy's voice!!!

  6. "My mind jerked into gear..."

    Hallelujah! Praise god! I just knowed it would happen someday.

  7. Amen brother Snowbrush! It was a remarkable thang, but I have a headache now and must take a nap!

  8. I'm sure that will be a fascinating story. I imagine he must have been stationed on the USS Hornet.

    When I lived in San Francisco, my boss was a former Marine Colonel who had been stationed on the Hornet in it's last days. When they tuned the carrier into a museum we got to have a big party for our clients on board.

    They gave us a tour and we were able to see where they kept the astonauts quarentined after they landed.

    I'm sure it will be a great story. I'd love to read it.

  9. Wow! You actually going to meet someone, who met Neil Armstrong?

  10. Yep, the guy can write!!! Thanks for the link to Rick Bragg's body of work - I've only read one "A Killer's Only confidante" cos the title intrigued me! Great stuff!

    Enjoy your interview with the mand who was the first to welcome Neil Armstrong! July 1969 was a great month and year. I was born! LOL! take care

  11. Hi Rick, what a great blog you have! Happy to see that word "Southern" in your blog header, one of my favorite words. :-) I really enjoyed reading the diamonds parable. Funny how one thinks there are no stories right around them, reminds me a little of the bible verse about a "prophet is not without honor except in his own country".

    Am anxious to read your upcoming interview. Thank you for visiting my blog and becoming a follower.


  12. How fantastic to get a call like that! Just incredible.

  13. Nice going. Looking forward to reading more. Here's to polishing more of your diamonds! :) Marsha


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