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February 03, 2003


I have an odd little connection to the Columbia: It once carried a book of mine into space. This was on a 1995 mission, STS-73, Oct. 20 to Nov. 5. An astronaut named Marsha Ivins, a neat lady with whom I've corresponded over the years, gave the crew of that mission a copy of Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys to read in space. All seven crew members -- none of whom was on the shuttle for its final mission -- wrote little inscriptions to me in the book. For example, the pilot, Kent Rominger, wrote: "You are right, the Space Shuttle is the ultimate gizmo!" After they landed, Marsha gave the book back to me. I always thought it was very cool, to have a book that had gone into space. Now it means something different, of course. But I'll treasure it.


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