By Laura Rose

January 17, 2022


My father was orphaned at eighteen, and though he’d made his own family, we weren’t enough to satisfy his craving for deep roots. For that, he had his sixth great-grandfather and the American Revolution.

He bought a tricorn hat, musket, and an antique powder horn. He dressed in a heavy linen hunting frock and military overalls for battles. For parties or, you know, just hanging around the fireplace, he donned his Colonial dress suit with ruffled collar, knee-length pants, and square-toed leather shoes that looked like they belonged to Ichabod Crane.

On weekends at Valley Forge, costumed men packed their muskets with gunpowder and wadding while their families waited cross-legged on the sidelines. When an officer called the order, their muzzles flashed and men fell. My brother and I giggled as the cloud of gunpowder plumed and spread across the field. The adults stepped back, but we let it envelop us so we could draw deep breaths of the sharp, musky fog.

The remaining men reloaded their muskets and fired. More fell. My father clutched his side, screwed up his face, gaped at the heavens, then hit the ground.

“Look, Mommy!” I shouted. “Daddy died!”

My mother rolled her eyes. My brother and I rolled in the sweet, damp grass groaning and clutching our sides before breaking into laughter. Soon this battle would end and we’d join my father. He’d grin as he sipped beer from a pewter mug, flush from the fantasy of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with his ancestors.


Laura Rose lives and writes in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in Narrative, New Millennium Writings, Memoir (and), and more.


Picture by Mikhail Nilov courtesy of Pexels

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