The Ladder


Last weekend I found myself in a mindset that I am not usually comfortable with.  I just didn’t have any gumption to get off my ass and go after the day.  I guess I needed some time to turn my brain off and watch some TV.  While surfing around the zillion channels under the assumption that there would be nothing on I stumbled on to one of the few movies that will almost always grab my attention, October Sky.  This is arguably one of my favorite movies, for obvious reasons, yet I still do not own it. 


Anyway, I came in right when Homer was going to Indiana for the national science fair competition.  There is one part of the movie that always seems to coincide with me getting something caught in my eye.  It’s where Homer goes to thank his Dad for helping him win the National Science Fair.  And his Dad strikes back about Homer getting to meet his hero….

 Homer:  “Hey, Dad”

Dad:  “Hello, Homer”

Homer:  “I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate what you did for me. I know it wasn’t easy for you, so thank you. We’re shooting off our last rocket today at noon… so if you’d like to see it–

Dad:  “I got a lot of work to do”

Homer:  “All right. I just thought I’d ask”

Dad:  “Hear you met your big hero. Didn’t even know it.

Homer:  “Look… I know you and me don’t exactly see eye to eye on certain things. I mean, man, we don’t see eye to eye on just about anything. But I come to believe that I got it in me to be somebody in this world. And it’s not because I’m so different from you either. It’s ’cause I’m the same. I can be just as hardheaded and just as tough. I only hope I can be as good a man as you are. I mean, sure, Dr. von Braun’s a great scientist… But he isn’t my hero.



Like in the movie, my father came out to the Black Rock Desert to watch my rocket launch.  This was more important to me in retrospect than at the time of the launch.  I was too busy to appreciate the moment.  Then this last Christmas, he gave me exactly what I wanted most, a signed Mark Ludy drawing. Not just any drawing, but one from his children’s book: When I was a boy I dreamed


Here is the drawing:




He had it framed and mounted, it is perfect.  I placed it over my desk in my basement where I do all my computer work. Whenever I look at the drawing, the father and son change identity.  Sometimes it’s me on the rocket and my Dad holding the ladder.  Other times I am holding the ladder and one of my sons is building the rocket.  And when I am feeling real melancholy I am holding the ladder and my future grandson is building the rocket.


Either way the guy holding the ladder is the hero of this drawing.



Thanks for holding the Ladder for me.




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3 thoughts on “The Ladder

  1. planetross says:

    Very cool!
    I remember the entry you wrote a while back about Mr. Ludy.
    I’ll have to check out his stuff again.

  2. S. Le says:

    Brilliant. (also love the illustration)

  3. Mike says:

    I just saw October Sky for the first time a few weeks ago (thanks AMC!) Fantastic movie. I am not embarrassed to admit that when I read your post I choked up for just a second. I had both a father and a grandfather who held the ladder for me many, many times. I just hope I can do so for my kids/grandkids as well.

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