“Our craziest single interaction with a neighbor was when they set our yard on fire with a rocket launcher.
To be fair, they absolutely had no intention of becoming arsonists that day. We were actually very good friends with them and their kids, so they had no motive for burning down our lawn.
That day the oldest son had either bought or built the said rocket launcher. He invited his dad to come out onto the second-story deck of their home and try it out with him. The dad, being very enthusiastic about the launcher, and also being a dad, insisted on going first, allegedly to ‘make sure this thing is safe!’ He steadied the weapon, aimed it at their giant open grassy sports court, and fired.
Unfortunately, the launcher had quite a bit more ‘oomph’ than he’d accounted for. Rather than stopping in the safe green grass, as he’d intended, it sailed over the fenceline and landed smack dab in the middle of a pile of dry brush we’d cleared several months before. Almost immediately, smoke began ominously curling upward, followed shortly by little orange flames rapidly growing taller as they licked hungrily at the leaves and branches of the pile.
The first we knew of it was the frantic pounding knocks of our neighbor, who stood gasping for breath on our doorstep after apparently sprinting the two-acre distance between their house and ours. By the time my mom got to the door, he was already running towards the pile with a hose he’d grabbed from the side of our house, wheezing ‘FIRE! FIRE!’ over his shoulder as he dashed off. Instantly, my mom snagged a bucket, filled it as quickly as she could, and raced wildly off after him.
Between the hose and the buckets run to the blaze by my mom, myself, my siblings, and all of the neighbor kids who’d followed their dad on his two-acre hustle, the fire didn’t stand much of a chance. It tried its darndest, but within about ten minutes we had it pretty well controlled.
Our neighbor couldn’t stop apologizing. He told the whole story, quite embarrassed and horrified at what devastation he nearly caused. Once my mom heard it, though, she busted up laughing, much to the neighbor’s shock.
‘It’s just,’ she said, still chortling, ‘the enormous bad luck of you just perfectly hitting the absolutely most dry pile of tinder on EITHER of our combined twenty acres is just hilariously astounding!’
I’m not sure the neighbor agreed, but he was at least able to leave with the slightest of smiles to thaw the terror still written plainly on his face. To this day, my family still looks back fondly and laughingly on that incident with our accidental arsonist neighbor. Although he’s long moved away, hopefully, the neighbor is able to do the same.”