I Built a Rocket...Once: A Christmas Story

By Jordan Waldmeier | 12/08/2014

From: Warner Bros.

From: Warner Bros.

Chapter 1: The Gift

I made a rocket once. It was a kit, given to me by my grandmother. It was at our big family Christmas eve party. I have a rather large family, so we wouldn't get gifts. Just stocking(s) filled with cookies, gum, and a few dollar store trinkets. It was a dull and awkward night as usual, filled with ham sandwiches and drunken uncles. I was eleven years of age, a school boy in the sixth grade with a "C" average. I would sit there quietly throughout the night, observing the hijinks of my younger cousins, all the while listening as my aunt played classical Christmas melodies on a baby grand piano in the background.

 It was time to open gifts. Gifts went to my grandparents and their siblings, as well as their children including my father and his siblings. Lots of cologne, sweaters, and uneasy "thank yous" were given that year. My grandfather, who was an avid sailor and Navy veteran that served in World War II, received from my father a box that looked to contain a fluorescent light fixture. My grandfather, with much regressed sarcasm, thanked my father and quickly set it aside. Upon this reaction my father swiftly intervened, and informed his father to open the box, as the gift that it appears to be was rather deceiving and the box contains something different. Grandfather scurried for the fluorescent box, which had already been covered by others' disposed gift wrappings. He then retrieved a knife from his pocket and began to cut the tape from the box. He removed several pieces of newspaper from the box, and at that moment my grandfather's war-ridden eyes lit up. He pulled two aluminum oars from the depths of the box. They would go great with his dinghy.

 It was at that moment my grandmother pulled me to the side. She escorted me into the study room and exclaimed that she did not want to give this said object in her possession a midst the other children. She handed me a sizable gift, which I quickly freed from it’s bow and snowman paper. With shock and glee, I lifted it from its festive remains and revealed to her and myself a model rocket kit! The child within me was ecstatic, and my joy could not be contained. I lovingly embraced my grandmother with a loving hug, filled with the infinite love only a child can provide, and gracefully thanked her. We both returned to the party as it was coming to an end, being towards the hour of midnight. My siblings and I soon retreated with my father, saying our goodbyes and wishful cheers to the remaining party attendees as we walked to the family suburban with handfuls of treats and crock-pot left overs. It was a joyous party.

Chapter 2: Construction Begins

From: Paramount Pictures

From: Paramount Pictures

 The holidays ended, and the normal schedule of school and everyday activities continued for the next several months. It is now summer, the time for weekend barbecues and nighttime firework extravaganzas. Though, between the festivus weekends, the weekdays were rather dull. Nothing to do, but watch tennis tournaments and The Price is Right. One of these days, I took it upon myself to clean my closet of its overloaded capacity. Pillaging through the mounds of clothing and aged toys, I was halted by the sight of an unopened package. I was quickly reminded of where this package came from and couldn't bare the thought of my procrastination. This model rocket kit shall be built and take flight tomorrow!

The next week, I began construction of this "man's free-will-flying-phallus." As meticulous as it was to build, I battled through it and finished the construction of the rocket. "It will take flight tomorrow," I say, again. The following Summer was coming to an end and the days were filled, once again, with the boredoms of summer restrictions that only a minor understands. While achieving many goals on Super Mario 64, glare from the sun set in on my television set. My frustration began to set in and I quickly stopped playing the gaming device. Thinking this was a punishment from God, I soon realized that this was actually a sign from The Lord above, as the light shined upon the rocket sitting atop my activity table.

Chapter 3: There Will Be Liftoff

I hurried down to my second eldest brother, whom had a license, and requested he drive me to pick up my friend of many years, and then take us to the well manicured, desolate field behind the school grounds to send this rocket to the final frontier, to which man has the power of doing so! He agreed.

After retrieving my fellow friend and lunch, we arrived at the field. It was the perfect site to take flight, and after several hours of assembling the flight stand and launching device, one's eye could not tell the difference between this simple field and Cape Canaveral. I made a short speech about the achievements of man and the work and hardships of the journey to space, and the future of mankind. It was time.

I placed the key in the launching device and we commenced countdown starting at "ten." As the countdown began, my mind quickly began having flashbacks of the Apollo missions, I could hear "America the Beautiful" playing ever so loud. My mind took me into the future of space travel, life on other planets. "One." I pressed the launch button with all of my loving and grateful heart! 

It didn't work. My grandmother died of lung cancer two years later.

About the author:

Hello universe, my name is Jordan Waldmeier. Scientifically, I am 28 years of age, as of 2014AD. I was born and raised in Sulphur, Louisiana and moved out of my mothers home at the young age of 27 and a half. Currently residing in Lake Charles, Louisiana (a whole bridge away): I am an observer of the human species, mentally taking notes on their actions around me, hopefully to be recorded to paper before they are lost by the inevitable dementia embedded in my DNA.

I am a collector of modified, petroleum formed, 6 inch scale likings of comic book superheroes and other science fiction icons. My favorite tree is one that has been processed into a 22 page full-colored comic book. Both of my parents are still alive, therefore, I am not Batman. 

"Be excellent to each other."


Readers Also Enjoyed...or, at least they clicked on...
Kill the Elf, With the Shelf By Jordan Waldmeier

Kill the Elf, With the Shelf
By Jordan Waldmeier

Can I Ask, Why: The Science of Curiosity By Manuel Ruiz

Can I Ask, Why: The Science of Curiosity
By Manuel Ruiz

Founded in Lake Charles, LA. Subscribe to Exposure today and receive a digital copy of Exposure Magazine mailed directly to your inbox every month. It's free to subscribe!