Dropped Balls and Invincible Wimmin...

My damned balls dropped again!

The same big three chicken wire light balls blown down by the windstorm last week, the same three repaired with a pound of duct tape a few days later when the plug came undone. This time they fell victim to a tiny gust of wind that snapped their fraying hemp guy wire and sent them plummeting back to Earth.


This time there were no boys around to lend a hand or give advice as to the "proper" way to remedy the situation.

So it fell to the old wimmin to take care of it.

Me and Mertis to the rescue. Like almost always.

It was like living in the middle of the frontier West. I went and got the potato gun- which resembles a huge, black bazooka, dug through the boxes in the attic to retrieve the "ammo" and ran outside. I also brought a box of tissues because, for some reason, that's what I saw the boys use to "lube" the shaft of the launcher.

We tied one end of the roll of hemp rope to the ammo and Mert shoved it down into the gun's barrel with a stick.

Once we'd loaded the gun, we hooked it up to the bicycle pump and began to ramp up the psi. However, we had no idea what the ideal pressure was for launching our three rock, duct-taped bullet. Mertis just pumped it for awhile and when we decided we were approaching a "danger to ourselves and others" limit, we unhooked it and headed out into the middle of the front yard to fire our missile.

"You think there's a lot of kick to it?" I asked Mert as she cradled the gun against her shoulder and carefully aimed for the highest branch of the highest tree.

Mert shook her head, ever the tough cop. "Nah, didn't look like much when they did it," she said gruffly.

I nodded and stepped back, out of the direct line of flying projectiles and hemp rope spools.

"Where are you going?" Mert asked, looking back over her shoulder at me.

"I'm getting out of the way of the rope ball, in case it flies out of control," I told her.

"You can't do that," she said a trifle impatiently. "You have to pull the trigger."

Indeed. Poking out of the side of the black pipe was a baby gate handle.

"Pull it back when I count to three," Mertis instructed.

A potato rocket launcher makes much the same sound as the rocket launchers I see on the news. But I must tell you, firing a rocket in the front yard when you're old and you know your kids think you're incapable of achieving such a level of frivolity, really rocks.

We fell on each other laughing and hooting as the red bullet flew up into the trees, shot over a branch and began its downward arc. When it reached the ground we removed it, replacing the rock ammo with light balls and hauling them back up into the uppermost branches of our pin oak tree.

We were invincible.

And then we were too big for our britches, thinking it might be just a bit better if we tugged the middle ball over toward the center of the yard.

So, we had to start all over again. But the good news was, we got to fire the gun again, this time just as a group of earnest carolers arrived across the street to serenade the neighbors.

Let me tell you, there is nothing like the loud burp of a rocket launcher and Mertis yelling, "Incoming!" to bring a group of off-key choir members a bit closer to their chosen faith.

Yep, that's me and Mertis, all right. Just keepin' it real in the hood!

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