Bottle Rockets

from a series of writings and paintings for my father

My father played a trick on his friends with a blow horn in the night
Bottle Rockets, ink, watercolor, graphite on paper, by Annette deFerrari

For the last seven years of his life, my father had a friend named Bradley. The back of my parent’s property abutted the side of Bradley’s lot. When Bradley first moved in, my father greeted him, as he did all new neighbors. He offered to help with anything the guy might need. Bradley was thirty years younger than my dad, ran a landscaping business, and had a sense of humor. They took to each other. One night, Bradley was outside with a bunch of friends, shooting bottle rockets. A stand of trees lies between the two lots, and my dad hid there. He had a horn, and when Bradley shot a rocket, my dad blew the horn. So the sound the guys heard was not an explosion, but a loud honk. The guys thought they had defective rockets. My dad pulled this prank every three to four rockets. Then he crept back home. A while later, he mentioned it to Bradley.

“So, you had some defective bottle rockets the other night, huh?”

“Yeah,” said Bradley, shaking his head, and then he shot my dad a look. “Wait. How did you know?”

My dad laughed his gleeful laugh, and in the midst of it, came clean and told of his prank.

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Annette deFerrari

Wanderer & ponderer of nature, art, & our ties to our stuff. I have a series of stories about my dad & an in-progress book: You Don’t Have To Throw It All Away