The Rocket Returns

by Rod Miner  |  Mar 18, 2015 

In 1973, Earl Miner used his remarkable hands to build a vehicle that could transport his body and brain to the furthest reaches of the world, and maybe beyond. The amazing Rocket Car had traveled almost 90,000 miles with him aboard when it disappeared from our sight in the early 80’s. Earl was left behind, relegated to using an ordinary car. For three decades its whereabouts were unknown. People asked and wondered and whispered, but no one knew.

Lightfoot Cycles was born, and grew with each passing year, and though its parentage was clear, the big daddy delta trike to which Lightfoot’s own offspring bore a striking and undeniable resemblance was not to be found. Rumors had the Rocket Car seen (always at a distance) traveling the autobahns of Germany at incredible speeds, or momentarily glimpsed as it whipped past otherwise reliable witnesses on winding cliff-side roads of the Alps. Some speculated that it had achieved escape velocity and left earth altogether.

All we really knew was that the Rocket Car was gone.

Till today, this marvelous day. Where its travels took it we may never know, but the Rocket Car is back. Though suffering a little amnesia, or perhaps practicing discretion about its more recent past, the Rocket is physically fine. Its rediscovery was given credibility when an unknown object was photographed on the hill roads of central Arkansas. Arkansas had been awash in strange sightings and tales of alien abduction recently, and that might have been a clue if we had not already given up hope. People spoke of a giant needle that flashed by their porches and church yards, leaving only an unbelievable afterimage on their retinas and doubt in their minds. Police scanners would come alive and then fall silent again, as patrolmen thought better of it and asked their dispatchers to disregard. Crazy people muttered to themselves that they knew, they knew.

It turns out maybe they did know. And now we all do. The Rocket Car is with us again.


Earl is a very old man now, living in Missouri. He has lived a full and fantastical life. He married a fine lady, raised a passel of kids and helped a whole lot of people have better lives. Will he believe that the Rocket Car went without him to Jupiter and beyond? That it is really back? We can only expect that, given his residence in the skeptical state of Missouri, he will simply say, in his now quiet voice, “show me”.

His children hope for a reunion.