Rhonda's A 'Muse'-ing Rambles

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Fire Works – Bottle Rocket Wars

Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on July 5, 2008

When I was a teen, one of the rites we had on the 4th of July weekend was to stage Bottle Rocket Wars. We would drive down to a nearby creek (line Creek park) near Riverside, Missouri. Dozens of teens would gather at the park, families too, to have traditional picnics, frisbie games and more. Those of us who were brave would go over to the creek and choose sides. The creek was always deep and free flowing on the drop off side of the ‘car wash’ – which was a gravel bed that you could drive across to reach the other side. Once on our sides, we would fire up our punks or cigarettes, grab an empty coke bottle or can, and proceed to shoot bottle rockets at the other group across the creek. Those who were the elite group would shoot them out of their bare hands. Flinging them in the air sometimes got you great altitude and more distance, but also they could backfire on you and turn tail and head right back at you. If you were ‘hit’ – you just fell in the creek. Sometimes, you just fell in the creek because the water felt so good.

Another thing we would do (please don’t try this at home!) would be to build a big bonfire. When the flames were roaring, we would hole out a circle in the middle. If we had brought an old oatmeal container, we would carefully line a couple dozen of the rockets on the outer edges, being sure the wicks were hanging on the outside. Sometimes we just stuck them in a can. Then we would walk over to the fire, carefully put the can into the middle hole – and run! Rockets would shoot out in every directions, sometimes only one or two to begin with – sometimes all at once. And of course, the braves ones were the ones who stood closest to the fire – and broke to run last.

Amazingly, we never started any fires or got seriously burned. Yes, I’ll admit we were pretty stupid, but it was so much fun! I don’t let my son shoot off bottle rockets now, but he longs to try it, especially after hearing all the stories.


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