I once held a moon rock. It was encased in metal, glass and vacuum, but still....
A moon rock.
I was a senior in High School, at the time. I was lecturing and writing shows for the city's Planetarium, and I was very active in the local Astronomy Club, which was affiliated with the Planetarium. The Planetarium Director also was the head of special science programming for the local schools, and he asked for volunteers to help set up a display being brought in by NASA outreach.
Being the space geek I was (and still am), I jumped at the chance to lug big padded boxes up multiple flights of stairs. And lug them down. And lug them up to another school's auditorium. For a whole week.
I loved every minute!
The NASA outreach coordinator, and chief speaker, was a great guy. Very knowledgeable, friendly, appreciative of our zeal.
The rock came in a heavy metal and glass enclosure. The glass was thick, almost looking armored. The container was several times as heavy as the small rock by itself.
The rock itself was held in the middle of the container by two rods that touched it at its top point and bottom. It looked like basalt-gray and slightly buff, and intricately pebbled. It was all sharp angles. Although its texture was rough, it sparkled, as all those microscopic angles, never softened by a single drop of water or zephyr of air, caught the light.
I stared at it from mere inches away, my breath fogged the thick glass.
The rock seemed like an old friend by the end of the week, when it was hidden away once again in its padded, padlocked black box. White stenciled letters on the side gave no hint that the box contained a tiny bit of another world, carefully collected from the place it had laid for a billion years.
Somewhere in the world, there exists a photograph of me, in an Apollo pressure suit, idiotic grin clearly visible through the thick bubble helmet, holding a moon rock.
I wish I still had my copy.