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Letters to the Editor

Letter: A rocket ship called 'Schaft-Nik' that didn't work

To the Editor:

Whenever I see a well-kept lawn and flowerbed. I think of one of my late brothers.  

He was a carpenter by trade but his hobby was meticulously tending to his garden and flowers.              

Remember back in 1957 when the Russians launched the first space ship, “Sputnik”? This inspired my brother to erect a fake rocket ship in his own back yard. 

He called it “Schaft-nik.” German spelling would be Schaft-nicht but he wanted the name to sound like Sputnik, the Russian spaceship name. It means “doesn’t work” in German.            

The purpose of his rocket ship was to fill it in the morning with water from a garden hose and let the warm sunshine heat it during the day, and then use it when watering his flower garden.             

He believed his flowers and lawn would fare better with warm water than cold. I reminded him that rain water is not warm either but he went ahead and constructed it nevertheless. I can’t tell you if his theory was ever proven.               

His rocket ship was made up of three 30-gallon drums, from which he removed the top and bottom and soldered them together to resemble a rocket ship. Upending it, he placed it in his yard the following spring.              

He dressed the tank up a bit, by having a cone-shaped top made. Four sturdy fins kept the tall tank upright. It stood 14 feet tall and was painted a bright orange with a checkerboard trim near the top. In black letters are the words. “Schaft-nik.”                              

He was very meticulous with the lawn and garden to the point where a passerby once stopped to chide him, saying that he had detected one blade of grass that was turned the opposite direction of the rest.                       

He is gone now and so is his rocket ship, but I still have the newspaper clipping of the rocket ship that “doesn’t work.”                                                                                 

Mil Misic

DeKalb

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