The other day as I was driving by the park in my neighborhood, I watched three kids about 10 years old or so launch a kite. In my growing up life, the month of March was ‘kite month’. For .25 you could buy a High Flyer kite which featured a variety of figures on it, and a paper skin that was stretched over the wooden support sticks. The “Man in the Moon” kite came in three colors if I remember—red, yellow, and blue. My preference was blue. A walk to Duckwalls “Five n’ Dime” could supply you with a kite, and a couple of balls of cotton string. The instructions for assembly were printed right on the kite. The trick was getting just the right bow in the cross bar, and then getting your mom to give you an old sheet from which you tore pieces to make the tail.
Once it was ready for flying, I would head off to the Ben Franklin Elementary giant play yard, to meet 10-15 other kids with their variety of kites. On a perfect kite flying day you would have a great breeze that would lift your kite to dot the sky. One of my most distinct memories was the year we got a kite up there with a couple of balls of string. In my kid mind it almost touched the clouds. I had an extra quarter in my pocket and Duckwalls was maybe three blocks away. I thought I would send my brother Charley there, to buy some more string—if two balls were good, four would be better.
Well, Charley did his job and we began to add ball number three. Buy this time we were sure that this kite could be seen from miles away. So we added number four to its line. Each ball was 250 ft, so I was pretty decent at math and we reached 1,000 ft. We were so proud of ourselves. There she was—our beautiful blue Man in the Moon kite sailing peacefully near heaven.
Then the laws of engineering stepped in. POP!!!—the string broke as a result of too much pull I guess. The kite took off towards the Fountain River. We hopped on our bikes and headed for a kite rescue. Oh we found it all right, stuck in the Cottonwood trees that line the river bank. There my kite was and my .50 investment. It was truly twisting in the wind.
That afternoon when my dad got home, we talked him into a possible kite rescue. We took him to the sight of our renegade kite. He said, “Boys,
that kite is a lost cause, but I will go to Duckwalls with you to get another one. This time we got a RED “Little Boy” and stuck to two balls of thread. On the all the Hi-Flier kites there was a print banner saying “Playmates of the Clouds”. I have a kite in the garage, I think Sunday afternoon I will see what she can do.
Onward and Upward, Mark `