Friday, January 20, 2012


This story was posted sometime last year. I am posting it now because of a request from a few of my blog followers. For those of you who have already read this, I hope that you don't mind reading it again (if you want). So, enjoy.

How long has it been since you flew a kite? Remember when kites were homemade? Store bought ones flew just as good as homemade ones and on windy spring days, kites just seemed to appear in the sky.

You would bug your parents for a kite or to help you build one. I remember my Dad making me a kite out of The Denver Post. I helped by handing him scissors, paste, and string. The wood for the kite came from our garage, and the tail was supplied by my grandmother. It only took my Dad about half an hour and we had a kite to fly.

Once outside, he would unwind the string and walk backwards up our street. I would stand there and hold the kite gently. When my Dad gave the word, I would toss the kite above my head, and duck. The first couple of times, we couldn't get it off the ground. Some of the other kids would tell him he had to run faster. 'Course, this always made him a bit ticked off, but it did seem that he would run a bit faster each time.

After what seemed like weeks, my Dad would finally get the kite up in the air. He would tug the string a bit, let out more string, and tug it again. Now, there I was, standing by, waiting to fly MY kite. He would always say "just a minute." Well, the minutes would go by and we both would watch MY kite float along on the wind.

Pretty soon, he would be almost out of string, and the kite was way, way, way, up there. It seemed like it was higher and further than any of the other kites. He would holler at me to go in the house and get another roll of string.

Well, we had taken one spool of string from grandmother when we first made the kite, so we just used it for the flying of it. But now Dad wanted more string. So I went in to get more string. Pappy was sitting on the front porch as I ran into the house. As I came out with a big spool of string, Pappy stopped me in my tracks. I had taken grandmother's twine for wrapping packages. Pappy told me that I shouldn't use it. I told him it was all I could find, and I ran off towards my Dad.

Pappy never said another word, just sat there with his pipe in his mouth, puffing away. As I got to my Dad, he had about a foot of string in his hand. I handed him the spool of twine. And I finally got to fly MY kite, for all of maybe one minute. He tied the twine to the remainder of the string, and took back control of the kite. Now we had kids watching as he started to let out the twine. Nobody had ever done this on our street before. One spool of string to a kite was the norm. 'Course, they didn't know my Dad -- over-achiever, I guess, and he let out just about that whole spool of twine.

MY kite was almost out of sight! I mean, you could barley even see it in the sky! The only way we knew where it was was by the tail of our kite. Grandmother had shredded Pappy's union suit into rags, and MY kite was adorned with a red tail, about 4 feet long. Needless to say, it stuck out pretty well. (For those of you who do not know what a union suit is, it is long handled underwear for men, you know, the kind with the flap in the back.)

Well, the kite was real high in the sky, and just a little dot, except for its tail. The other kids were just opened-mouthed about how far it went and how much string has been let out.

Then all of a sudden the wind changed, and the kite started to drop. We knew, because the tail was now at the top. My Dad started to pull on the string, and tug, and run up the street a ways. He started to reel in the string. He reeled and reeled, and tugged and pulled on the string. And reeled some more. He reeled it in so fast that he started to miss the spool and had a big wad of string around his hand. He kept on reeling, and soon was getting red in the face.

Pappy was standing up, and looking off towards the kite. It was getting lower in the sky, and my Dad reeled in the string like a man on a mission. By then you couldn't see the spool in his hand because string covered his hand. It almost looked like one of the oblong bee's nests you see every now and then. Then Pappy was on the stairs of the porch, and his hands were moving like he was reeling in the string! The kids were telling my Dad to reel faster!

I was just standing there, watching my Dad and Pappy. Then Pappy was off the porch and hollering at my Dad to reel faster, and the kids were hollering to reel faster, and My Dad had this funny look on his face like he was mad, but just can't seem to keep a straight face, and he started to laugh.

We lost MY homemade kite that day. The kids talked about it until about the middle of summer. We never did get all the string and twine back. It was tangled and I spent I don't know how long trying to untangle it. My Dad had a hard time getting it off of his hand. I never got a piece any longer than about 2 feet.

Pappy went back to setting on the porch. Grandmother chewed us out for using her good twine. And my Dad felt so bad about the whole thing that he went out and bought me AND my sister store bought kites. He helped us put them together, but never offered to come out and help us fly them.

We did find our kite though. It ended up on the utility wires on Colfax, across the street from the Casa Bonita Mexican restaurant. I had just happened to look up and there it was, tangled up, hanging upside down, the red tail was fluttering in the wind. I pointed it out to Pappy. He chomped down on his pipe, his face turned red, and he said that that damn union suit got more miles on it now then when he wore them. Then he smiled.

You know, I just may buy me a kite and wait for the wind to be j-u-s-t right.


  1. When I was in kindergarten, I thought anything could be a kite. I tied string to one of my Little Golden Books, but couldn't make it fly.

    Then my dad bought me a purple dragon kite and took me and my sister Karen to fly it. That was GREAT!

  2. The last time I flew a kite, was with Bryan, my son. When he was like 6 or 7.

    And one time, I had a G.I. Joe kite. that was made out of plastic. It got lost the same way as in the story.

    Go figure, I'm almost like Charie Brown when it comes to kites.

  3. Wow! What memories. When i was a little guy my Dad got me a box kite. We went into the field and sent it aloft. It went waaaayyyy up there. When my turn came (finally) it was a speck in the sky. As soon as I got the reel, I was lifted into the air! Dad made a frantic grab and down I came. We never did get that kite back.

  4. Flier - do me a big, awesome favour would you? go and get yourself a kite and fly it in the j-u-s-t right wind and think of your Pappy and Dad. do it for a full afternoon. and then come back and tell us about it. i bet it will make for a fantastic story!

    and thanks for sharing this story with us. i think we all really enjoyed it!

    your friend,

  5. Dean, I had a box kite. I never got it off the ground.
    Kymber, I like your idea, I just might do that. And then I will post on it. Maybe even some picture's.


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