The New Year ushered in an anticipation and hope of better things. As was their tradition the Ryukyuans met the occasion with the ceremonial rite of drawing water from their sacred stream. And it was with this water, which had been blessed by the Dominicans, that their prison surroundings were cleansed.
Father Miguel told some stories about the saints to the prisoners that the guards had summoned to assist the clerics. He took advantage of the fact that from talking about the saints it was not such a risky leap to speak about Christ himself. Without the benefit of liturgical books, the breviary, or the Bible, the Dominicans culled from memory long passages from Scripture, and shared what they remembered about the saints, especially Saint Dominic and Saint Francis. As a result, some of the prisoners entertained the thought of conversion. Others asked for Baptism shortly before they died. Lorenzo, the Dominicans, and Lazaro began to wonder if their missionary calling did not lie right where they were in their Ryukyuan prison.
Flying the rockets we’ve seen so far is fun, but at some point you will want to
step it up a notch and build rockets that carry something. It might be something
whimsical, like some candy to pass out as “space candy” to the kids at a
launch; it might be for a contest like the popular egg-lofting competitions; or
it might even be an electronics payload to measure the altitude and acceleration
of the rocket or the temperature and humidity in the atmosphere. Whatever it is
you want to lift, you need a payload rocket.
Before we get too far into the planning stages, though, there is one rule about
model rocket payloads that you need to be aware of. Model rockets are not
allowed to carry live vertebrates as a payload. There is no scientific reason to
pack a mouse into a model rocket. An egg is just as challenging technically,
and the failures are entertaining instead of tragic. If it has a spine, it’s a
spectator, not a payload. Insects are allowed; I can personally say that
grasshoppers, crickets, and bees all fly quite well in model rockets. Better
than eggs, in fact. I’ve never lost an insect, but I have scrambled a few eggs.
For a while, there, I was a burglar. I mean I walked uninvited
into people’s homes and took their things and kept them for myself—though usually not for very long. My locker would fill up and girls would notice, the way girls do, and if they saw something they liked I’d either give it to them or take some cash just for appearances—two bucks for a near-empty bottle of N°5, five for something really desirable like a red alligator clutch. If anybody asked, it was all stuff my mother was getting rid of. When business got too brisk, or I began to recognize too many things in the halls, I’d start ditching my haul before I got back to school, or else I’d take it home and stash it in my mother’s boxes in the attic, knowing that Dad, if he ever went up there, would not be able to tell the difference.
Say “burglar” and people think: Male, full-grown, night-time, black clothes, flashlight. They don’t think: Girl, ponytail, pancake chest, Gap jeans—ringing the bell in the middle of the day, asking, Is Betty-Lynn home—? No kid was ever named Betty-Lynn.