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We respectfully dedicate this book to the students, faculty and administrators of the Marlin High School, Marlin, Texas
In memory of Pearl Stevenson Gaither (August 9,1917-October 29, 2002) Wife, Mother, and Friend You will be missed
Distant scintillating star, Shall I tell you what you are? Nay, for I can merely know What you were some years ago.
For, the rays that reach me here May have left your photosphere Ere the fight of Waterloo— Ere the pterodactyl flew!
Many stars have passed away Since your aether-shaking ray On its lengthy journey sped— So that you, perhaps, are dead!
Smashed in some tremendous war With another mighty star— You and all your planets just Scattered into cosmic dust!
Strange, if you have vanished quite, That we still behold your light, Playing for so long a time Some celestial pantomime!
But, supposing all is well, What you're made of, can I tell? Yes, 'twill be an easy task If my spectroscope I ask.
Minchin, G.M. Nature 14 April 1898
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