Monday, July 16, 2012

Popping Rockets

Just for fun, I'm sharing a story from some years back.  It was around 1985 in fact.  I had become friends with Nancy and her son, Mark.  One afternoon, I had been invited to their apartment for PBJ sandwiches.  Not to be one to turn down a PBJ, I agreed and I was walking along the sidewalk under their balcony.

As I crossed under the balcony I was startled by something landing in my hair.  I reached up to grab the object and upon first recognition, I shook it off onto the ground.  A closer look showed me that they were unused, about the time I heard a young voice bellow "BOOM!" and seconds later another offensive object landed at my feet.

I could hardly stand it.  I went up the stairs, knocked on the door, snorting, choking and laughing in her face. She answered the door and seeing my great mirth asked me what was funny.  I asked her, "Do you know where little Mark is?"  Puzzled, she looked at the balcony and answered the obvious, "He's playing on the balcony."

Still giggling uncontrollably I asked if she knew what game he was playing, she frowned at me and told me he was playing "Navy" on the balcony with his boats and toy figures.  I laughed more as I asked "Have you checked out the boy's ammunition?  bwa ha ha

I followed her to the balcony just in time to see little Mark send another item flying over the balcony as he sounded off another "Boom".

"Mark!"  She exclaimed, "What are you playing with?"  She knew very well what he was playing with by this point, but couldn't bring herself to say it.
With joy, Mark held up the 2 tube system and exclaimed "Rockets mommy, Rockets." 

Okay, so I am busting a gut at her expense and the genius of Mark to create rockets out of tampons.  It was quite impressive how the right amount of force could make those puppies soar.  She swooped down to gather up the tubes, stuffing them into pockets, trying to gather up his spent "ammunition" and carry it off.  Little Mark was not very happy with her, and objected loudly to losing his toy rockets.  Have I mentioned he was ALMOST 3?  lol  She looked into the box and shook it at me and told me, "This was a full box!  Where are the tampons?"

I looked out over the balcony railing and peered down.  She followed my gaze down to the walkway below.  Seeing her personal items scattered among the rocks and sidewalk was particularly sufficient to create more guffaws as she yelled "oh no no no no no...." and ran to the door and down the exteriors, yelling to "Mark, you stay with Aunt T.T.!"

I continued to snicker as I watched her scanning the ground and gathering up the blown missiles.  I pointed out the ones I could see, and she gathered them up in the tail of her shirt.  She was about to come back up the stairs, when Mark's movements caught my eye.

I called down to her that she might want hang out for a few seconds.  She simply asked "Do you see more?" I laughed as I called to her, "No, but the captain of the ship has figured his coordinates, armed his weapons and is ready to fire."  Almost on cure, his adorable toddler voice echoed through the courtyard...."BOOOOOM!"

"Tina, stop laughing and take the rest from him!"  So I squatted next to him and told him we had to go in for PBJ sandwiches, so the Navy had to stop firing and meet in the mess hall.  He popped up and ran to the kitchen while I packed the remaining ammunition, and the spent tubes.  Putting them back in the box, I carried it into the kitchen, handing it to Nancy as she went to dump all the contents into trash can.  Mark was climbing into his high chair, as he watched his mother throw away the box.

"Thanks mom!  Thems the BESTEST rockets!"

This time, Nancy and I both laughed.  As true to Naval tradition, you form friendships fast as you never know when a deployment or duty station change just as quickly changed the status of your friendship,  For the duration of our deployment there in Mayport, FL, I would refer to the monthly visits of "ole Flo" as "Popping Rockets."