We were eating dinner and watching the local evening news, which was showing photos sent in by viewers of the missile that flashed across the early morning Phoenix sky.

It seems that the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico was testing an unusually large rocket and, as it passed over the valley, between 5:30 and 6:00 A.M., heading to the ocean off the California coast, it left a remarkable and beautiful contrail in its wake.

As the anchors talked about the half dozen or so pictures, I made my own comment.  “I’m surprised it’s so wiggly.  I would expect a rocket to have a straighter course.”

“That isn’t the thing,” Mom informed me.  “It’s the stuff.  The thing is different than the stuff.”

“I knows that,” I responded.  “But isn’t the stuff an indication of the path of the thing?”

“Maybe, maybe not,” she said, nodding her head and looking a little like Yoda with a perm.  “Maybe it just spits out like that to fool you.”

“Fool who?” I asked.

“Anyone who might want to shoot at it.  You know, like those kids who shoot at airplanes with light beams.”

“I don’t think so,” I replied.  “I think maybe the air currents blew it around.  It was probably straight when it started out.”

“Oh, I don’t think the air could blow that thing around,” she said, shaking her head knowingly.  “Maybe something big, like a dust storm, but not normal wind.”

“Not the thing, Mom, the stuff.  The air currents moved the stuff around,” I said.  “Oh, well, it doesn’t matter.  It sure was pretty, though.”

“Yes it was,” she agreed.  “But I’m not too sure about Mexico shooting things over Phoenix.  It sounds dangerous to me.”

I glanced at Bill, who was staring at us like we were both from another planet – maybe Dagobah or Tatooeeine.  “Are you two crazy?” he asked.  “it was a MISSILE, not a thing.  And the STUFF is its contrail.  And it came from NEW Mexico, not Mexico.”

“Well that’s better,” Mom said with a nod.  “At least they’re friendly toward us… aren’t they?”

“Most of the time,” I answered, smiling as I watched Bill shake his head in defeat.


2 Comments on “Contrails”

  1. AirportsMadeSimple says:

    Genius. Pure Genius. There’s no way to make this stuff up.

    • Patt says:

      Thanks and you’re right. Everything I write about happens. I find myself running to my PC to write down conversations while they’re fresh. I’m just happy that, inside a lot of frustration, I can still find even more humor. Thanks for reading.

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