I can’t remember how old I was when I got my first telescope, but I remember how much I enjoyed it. It was a small red telescope that was mostly plastic. It was the spyglass style that you always see in the pirate movies. It didn’t have great magnification, but it was a fun toy, and it worked. I have only ever owned three telescopes in my life. The first was the red toy spyglass. The second one was a gift from my grandparents, and it was a lot nicer.
Shortly after receiving a telescope with a tripod and everything for Christmas my Grandfather and I took it out to the mountains that are home to the Palomar observatory. We didn’t drive all the way up to the observatory, but we stopped on the side of the road about halfway up. There we set up the telescope and did our best to find interesting things I’d never seen except in books or on TV. I was able to spot Venus and could even see that it had phases like the Moon. Those are memories I will cherish forever.
The third one I bought while I was a missionary in Germany. I don’t know what it was that drew me to it. It was another spyglass, but it looked nicer that my first one. It had an all-metal case and much greater magnification, too. We were riding our bikes around the rural area between Mühldorf and Altötting trying to find a bike path since we missed the train. The road was extremely narrow and dangerous to ride a bicycle on. We eventually got somewhat lost, and would have wasting a good amount of time had it not been for my spyglass. I was able to spot the important roadsigns from over a kilometer away and avoid traveling in the wrong direction. I became so known for my spyglass that the Sisters in our district gave me a little Kermit the Frog figure holding a yellow spyglass. They had drawn on my hairstyle and written my name on the base of the plastic toy stand.
Telescopes and binoculars make great gifts (Free UPS shipping on orders of $29.99 or more). People don’t often think of them until they could really use them and then forget about the after the time of need has passed. Do your friends and family a favor and get them a telescope and help them create memories, too.