Moon Landing Day

On July 20th, 1969…by Joe Haldeman

No good deed goes unpunished. I missed the moon landing by being nice to a stranger.

Gay and I were spending the summer (my first since returning from Vietnam) in Guadalajara, Mexico. We’d taken a long weekend to go enjoy the beach at San Patricio, a fishing village.

We planned to get back to Guadalajara long before the Apollo landing. But they moved the landing up by several hours—and there was no way for us to know! San Patricio is in the shadow of the mountains, and couldn’t receive any radio or television.

So we got back to Guadalajara with only minutes to spare, but I didn’t know that. I dropped Gay off at the house where we were staying, and then drove across town to take an American hitchhiker home.

So she saw the landing, but I had to watch the re-runs. Which were pretty interesting; American video with Mexican audio. I saw Walter Cronkite looking really serious while the sound track went “¡Tequila Sauza est tequila mas fina!”


Joe Haldeman is an American science fiction author, perhaps best known for his novel The Forever War. His work has received many awards, among them five Hugos, five Nebulas, and a Campbell award.

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