It was a crisp October night, and the full moon was reflecting off the creek. Daddy asked me if I was finished with my homework because he wanted to look into something he saw down the creek a little way. I said sure and grabbed my barn jacket and met daddy by the kitchen where momma had a hot pot of coffee waiting for him and hot chocolate for me.
With the full moon, we could see the trail going down the creek without a lantern. I knew it by heart, my dog Cookie, and I spent a lot of time on the creek. A thin layer of ice was on the water, and by dawn, it would be several inches thick. Lanterns attached to tree limbs guided us and the walk was exciting to me, and I could feel an adventure about to happen.
In the distance, I could see a large metal object with flames under it growing higher and brighter than anything I had seen since the air show in Sumter. Copper tubes were attached to the body of the object. I knew from my Childcraft books and Encyclopedias that this was a real Rocket Ship sitting right here on the banks of the creek.
The group of men sitting around the object were rough-looking and all of them were drinking what looked like lemonade from their Mason jars. One big man stood up and asked daddy how he was doing. He held out his hand and it was a very intense moment. Daddy said, “Roger what are you and your friends doing here on my creek?”
Daddy took him aside while the other men were telling me all about the Rocket Ship. I asked them about the tubes, and they said they were fueling up the ship so it could go back to where it came from. I knew something wasn’t right, but daddy and Roger came to an agreement after he reminded Roger that he had several brothers and uncles along with him that owned all the farms down this road.
The next day when I got to school, I told all my friends about the Rocket Ship and told them to meet me on the plank bridge after school and I would take them to see it. After a long school day, they all got off the school bus and headed down the creek. We walked the path for several miles arriving at the camp. The Rocket Ship was gone, with only a circle of rocks where the fire burnt the dirt.
They were laughing at me and making little green men jokes. I was confused and just sat there wondering where the Rocket Ship had gone and how was it that there was no sign of anything being there except the firepit. It was a little after supper when daddy came down to the creek and said it was time for me to come home. He knew I was upset, and he spoke “Sometimes things aren’t what you think they are, and fathers try to protect their sons from things that are harmful.” He asked me to not talk about the Rocket Ship and that I might have seen one or it might have been something else altogether.
For many years I knew in my heart that I saw a Rocket Ship, and I never spoke of it again. Later in life, I still wanted to believe I did, but I could always hear daddy whispering in my ear, you may have seen something amazing or something that you should have not seen. In the end, it’s up to you to decide what you saw or didn’t see.