When I was a boy my dad told my mom and I a story, which was one of those tales that was only told once, but which dwells in the back of your memory for the rest of your life. As I recall it now, it was a story about my father’s childhood in Big Spring, Texas, where he lived with his parents and siblings during the 1930s to early 40s. With a sense of astonishment, which my dad carried with him decades after the event, he told of when in the middle of the night the skies suddenly lit up like daytime. Everyone was awoken by a celestial event that none of them, even the oldest among them, had ever seen before. This was years before the country became aware of UFOs, alien invasions, or the threat of nuclear war. Instead, according to my dad’s story, his mother and grandmother genuinely feared that the end of the world was upon them, so they began crying and praying until eventually the mysterious lights subsided and calm returned to the area.