ANTHEM, Book 3 of the Sixties Trilogy, publishes on October 1. Each of the book’s 47 chapters begins with a song from the Sixties to set the tone, mood, and scene. Every day between now and October 1, come have a listen and read a snippet from each chapter. On October 1, these posts will be archived with a link at ANTHEM’s webpage for #teachingAnthem1969

This is Chapter 39 (day 9):

SPACE COWBOY
Written by Steve Miller and Ben Sidran
Performed by the Steve Miller Band
Recorded at Sound Recorders, Hollywood, California 1969
Drummer: Tim Davis

NORMAN

“Drew!” says Molly. “Norman, it’s Drew!”
“You are correct,” says Drew. “I am surprised to see you here.”
“You’re surprised!” says Molly. “Norman! It’s Drew!”
I start to laugh. It’s so good to see someone we know. “What are you doing here?” I ask Drew. “I thought you were going to some air force base.”
“I am going to Vandenberg Air Force Base tomorrow,” says Drew. But tonight we are at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles.”
“So I see!”
“I thought you were going to San Francisco,” says Drew.
“We are,” I say. “We are on the way.”
“The Apollo astronauts trained here,” said Drew. “They learned how to identify the thirty-seven navigational stars that their guidance computer uses. This is in case of equipment failure. Inside the observatory, there is a Zeiss refracting telescope in the east dome, so you can see the stars.”
Molly looks like she wants to hug Drew, she is so delighted to see him, but she settles for, “Good for you, Drew.”

Drew is the ultimate space cowboy in ANTHEM, representing the nation’s fervor about the moon landing that’s at-hand. You’ll recognize Drew from COUNTDOWN, where he was 9 years old and wanted to be an astronaut.

It was 1962 and Drew’s hero was John Glenn. Drew carried the book Our Friend the Atom everywhere he went, and spouted off facts about atoms and the atomic bomb, in the midst of his fear about the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Discovering Drew in ANTHEM is an Easter egg for COUNTDOWN readers, but it’s not necessary to know Drew from previous Sixties books, as each book in the trilogy is a stand-alone novel.

The Steve Miller Band came into its own in the early seventies, known better for “Take the Money and Run” or “Fly Like an Eagle,” or “Rock’n’Me” but I love “Space Cowboy” for its insistent beat and straight-ahead guitar hook. And it’s perfect for Drew, and for this chapter at the Griffith Observatory late on a June night in 1969.

Chapter 39.