This was a conversation at the Nørgaard house about a month ago:
Kelli: Hey, I just read that while we are in the US in April, Kennedy Space Center will be holding one of its final space shuttle launches. Isn't that amazing?!
Mads (as his eyes begin to sparkle): OH MY GOD. Are you serious? Don't remember when we went to the Kennedy Space Center in June 2007 and how I told you that my lifelong dream is to see a shuttle launch?
Kelli: Of course I do, skat. You have mentioned it more than once, but Cape Canaveral is quite a trek from Savannah, GA.
Mads: I know, I know. It would just be so cool.
a few days later....
Mads: I cannot believe I will be that close to the launch and not able to see it. Don't you think we can find out about tickets or something?
Kelli: Sure, but you better call your mother-in-law and find out if she is ok with you taking a little road trip (about 5 hours away) in the middle of our family vacation!
later that day ...on Skype.... Mads tells my mom all about his lifelong dream and the launch and some other spacey stuff.... and of course, she said GO! In fact, she suggested that my nephew, Michael, might want to go with him if he was able to get tickets.
----THE RESEARCH PHASE----
Mads discovers that there is a ticket lottery that will be drawn on March 9th. So of course he enters.
March 9th comes. March 9th goes. No announcement.
A few days later he gets the disappointing email that he was not chosen in the lottery to buy tickets.
So he goes to plan B-- "non lottery winner" tickets can be bought beginning March 18...
March 18 arrives (US time) and the tickets quickly sell out.
Mads begins to madly search for a Plan C. He contacts our friend, Jesper, that lives in Daytona Beach to see if he has any ideas. But short of Mads driving all the way down there, and taking a chance that one of the beaches has one open parking space for one Viking on that day, there are not any other options because it is going to be CRAZY CROWDED on this day...
Dejected, he starts reading about what he will be missing on that day.
Then he finds something.
Mads: Kelli, it says on here that you can contact your Congressman to ask for tickets.
Kelli: Honey, you are not a resident of the U.S. You don't have a Congressman.
Mads: Oh yeah.... But it also says you can contact an astronaut directly and ask him....
Kelli: Sure, honey, you write a United States Astronaut and ask him if he can spare a few tickets from this guy from Denmark. Good luck with that.
Mads (the dreamer, that is never to be dissuaded without a fight): I am going to try it! What will it hurt?
Kelli (the pragmatic half of the couple) : Honey, I just don't want you to get your hopes up. The chances of that happening are somewhere between SLIM and NONE.
That was on Wednesday, the day he emailed the astronauts.
Now here are a few pics from Mads' office... just to show how much my "little boy" LOVES everything about OUTER SPACE...
Remember that email he sent on Wednesday.... well today he got a REPLY.
A REPLY FROM JON MCBRIDE.... THIS GUY-- former space shuttle PILOT.
And the email went something like this:
I am sorry that all of the tickets to the Launch on April 19 are sold out because I think it is amazing that you would want to use part of your vacation (after coming ALL THE WAY FROM DENMARK) to see the launch. So here's what I can do. How about if I get you 3 tickets...one for you, your niece and your nephew, and I be your personal connection that day? How does that sound? Just confirm that this is the right address for you at home and I will get those 3 tickets on their way to Denmark in the next couple of days. I am looking forward to seeing you at Cape Canaveral....
(and extra info-- he is married to a woman from Nacagdoches, Texas, so these 2 boys have even more in common than just a love of the space program!)
So today I admit that sometimes it is a VERY GOOD THING to be hopeful and optimistic like my Viking is... his optimism just got him a first class ticket to the launch of the Endeavor on April 19.
A day one of his dreams will come true!