Have you ever flown a kite? I have. Lots of them. I think that I started when I was six or seven years old. I think that this is largely due to the fact that I was raised during the "go outside and play" years. Yes, it's true, I was an often unwilling member of the "fresh air generation".
For those of you who may not be old enough to remember that era, those were the years before PC's...and Apple iEverything...and cable television. I know; it sometimes feels like a very long time ago even though I'm barely old enough to remember. Okay, that's a lie. I remember it better than what I had for lunch on Monday.
During the go outside and play years, my sister, brother and I spent hours upon hours in the fresh air...
...especially in the spring.
We were "city" kids. This meant that for us, wide open spaces consisted primarily of the park at the end of our street and the back yard of our "country" Grandparents' home. They actually lived about 4 miles from us but there was a corn field across the street...and it seemed really far away at the time.
One of our favorite things to do when the windy days of spring finally arrived each year was to fly kites.
...That, and to dress our baby brother up in girl's clothes and push him up and down the street in a doll carriage...but I digress.
(Tom, if you're reading this, I'm sorry. Truly. For that and the time that we put make up on you. Oh, and that one time that I made you eat whatever it was that we made in the yellow bowl as we were clearing the table after dinner...really sorry. Have I told you lately how thankful I am that we're still friends!?)
Kite flying on spring days when we were allowed to go to the park or when we spent a weekend day at my "country" Grandparents' house was amazing.
All you needed to do was stand there with your back to the wind; the kite in one hand, the string in the other. Then, when the wind pulled at the kite, simply let it go.
The wind would take the kite and the roll of string would unwind so fast that it would burn your fingers if you held on too tightly. The trick was to let the kite take lots of string as it soared upward, but not so much that it lost the wind beneath it and took a nose-dive straight into the ground.
Most days, three multi-hued tissue paper diamonds soared..and danced against the clear blue sky at the top of the hill behind my Grandma's house with tails made from strips of whatever we found in her barrel of cleaning cloths. It was a colorful event to say the least. On those days, I experienced kite flying at its finest.
Kite flying at home on our city block was an entirely different experience. I guess that it would be fair to say that it was a bit more challenging.
Coaxing a kite to leave the ground at home usually consisted of running... as fast as I could... down the four foot wide strip of concrete sidewalk with someone else holding the kite off of the ground and about fifteen feet of string unwound hoping that you'd gain enough speed to allow the kite to get high enough that maybe the wind would catch it...
and that when it did, the kite wouldn't end up in a tree...or the power lines.
For as much as kite flying at my Grandma's house was remarkable, it's one of the crazy days of flying a kite in front of our house with my sister that is the one that I remember most vividly.
My sister, Jody, was about six years old at the time and I was seven. I was holding the kite off of the ground and she was running because she was a faster runner...or at least that's what I think I told her because I didn't want to run.
We unwound the string as far as the edge of the neighbor's lot. I held the kite as high up in the air as I could and Jody ran...down the sidewalk... holding onto the string. I felt a tug as she reached the lot line and I let go of the kite. Amazingly, it started to climb.
She must have sensed that it was going up because she looked back...just for a second. When she turned forward again, she ran face-first into the chain link fence around the yard two houses away. Yep, she did. She never saw it coming. She got three stitches in her eyebrow. I'm not sure that we ever flew kites again.
(Jody, if you're reading this, I'm sorry. In hindsight, I suppose that I should have yelled, "FENCE" but really, that fence had been there since way before we moved into our house. And we had lived there for several years before you ran into it. I think that I must have been caught up in the moment or I would have warned you...honest.)
One day late last week, when we had our first sixty degree day with sunshine and spring winds, I looked out of the window of our family room and I saw it... one lone kite, soaring above the trees in the park behind our home. It made me smile...and remember flying kites with my sister...
....and say a little prayer that the child holding the other end of the string was out in the middle of the park...and no where near the chain link fence around the playground.
P.S. I made this wreath by wrapping a wreath form with cotton yarn. The lettering was created by dipping twine into glue, forming the letters on the counter, allowing them to dry then gluing them onto the wreath. This is similar to the way that I made the lettering on my reclaimed wood, "coastal" American flag last summer . The kite is seersucker fabric lined with iron on interfacing and glued to a wooden skewer. The tail is made from string and chevron ribbon. I used a small piece of a skewer and a vintage thread spool for the "kite string holder".
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