Thursday's Reception Party at the Elliot's

    From Captain Elliot:

 After seeing what a great bunch showed up for the 2001 reunion in San Antonio, and seeing the format for this year (arrival Thursday, events Friday and Saturday), Faye and I decided to fill in the idle Thursday evening with a gathering of our own.

    So we planned it for tables on the lawn as well as in the house.  The weather was a gamble but worked out fine -- the fallback being to move everything into the house and garage if the weather didn't cooperate.  Having laid in food, beer, wine, soft drinks and decorations, we borrowed tables and chairs from our community center, set up a couple of flood lights on our back patio and engaged the "Soul Sisters" to do their song and dance routines.  They are simply three local housewives who do this for fun.  Nobody was fooled by their lip-synching I'm sure; that wasn't really Judy Garland belting out "New York -- New York", you know.  But the audience was very appreciative, throwing quarters to them.
    Midway through the evening, just after sunset, we had a bonus display of a Minuteman launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base.  Vandenberg is about 250 miles to the northwest.  It being a clear night we saw the missile's contrail, buffeted about by varying winds as it climbed out through the atmosphere.  The contrail was brilliantly illuminated by sunlight against a darkening sky.  We also saw the gauzily glowing corona around the head of the missile created by the ionizing effect of the missile's shock wave on the atmospheric gases it was plowing through.  Quite a show for our sixty-some guests, and no extra charge!
    Hidden Meadows being some forty miles north of San Diego, Faye and I salute the drivers who made it through dense rush-hour traffic to attend.  We much enjoyed it and hope everybody else did too.
        Don Elliott


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