It was Independence Day sometime in the early 1980s, and the gang from high school decided to celebrate with a nighttime naval battle with bottle rockets on a convenient farm pond. Pyrotechnics, rednecks in training, boats and water. What could go wrong?
We set limits before launch. Only paddles as form of locomotion, and no close range assaults. Those restrictions lasted about 15 seconds once the war got rocking.
The idea was for all combatants to spread out on the banks, put in at the same time and join battle in the middle of the pond. I paired up with my cousin, Curtis Mott, and I noticed he was very secretive in loading our vessel, a 14-foot jon boat. After launch, we immediately christened it the S.S. Roll Tide.
He sat it the back of the boat and as soon as we were floating I heard all kinds of thumping coming from the stern. He pulled a croaker sack off his pickup truck battery, and mounted a trolling motor.
“That’s cheating,” I said, not really thinking before speaking.
“If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t trying,” he said, rocking the switch to the go fast setting. “Load up your gun and get ready.”
The “guns” were short lengths of galvanized half-inch pipe, duct taped to hunks of wood. The idea; light a bottle rocket, shove it in the back of the pipe, kinda aim and let it launch. It beat the devil outta holding the rocket in your hand and chunkin’ it at the last second. We used Swisher Sweet cee-gars to light the rockets.
“Hey, that ain’t fair!” David Ames bellowed from his boat as we sped by and I launched a perfect shot, zipping right past his head before it went bang. “They gotta…
click here to read more.