Monday, January 02, 2012

Kite Flying

At first we thought it was a skein of geese, but the closer we got, the more it looked like a kite.  Sure enough, that's what it was.  Someone had tied the kite string to a fence post to dazzle passers by like us.  We pulled our vehicle off to the side of the road, took pictures, and watched the tail gracefully crawl the sky.  What a thing to see.....four days before Christmas!

As a little girl, I didn't get to fly kites, but I sure remember my brother telling me to do so.  Resentment came easy to us farm kids toward the town kids who had freedom to do things like fly kites while we were stuck doing chores.

Hubby was a town boy, and now I find his boyhood stories fascinating.  He tells of building rafts and floating down the river during spring floods.....of his buddy shooting a bb gun, the bb ricocheting off of something, flying back and hitting hubby about an inch from his eye.  They smoked cigarettes under the east bridge and chased girls up trees.

Hubby tells back in the 1950s kites cost maybe 20 cents or a quarter.  They came rolled up in their own thin paper or plastic, with 2 light-weight balsam wooden sticks.  The sticks pivoted, so they shaped em into a cross, and then tightened the cross-piece to put a bow in it.  Hubby's mother kept a bag of old clothes for the boys to cut into 2-3" wide strips.  They tied the cloth strips together to make a 4-6' tail as a counter weight to keep the kite under control.  The length of the tail was critical.  Too much tail would weigh the kite down, and too little tail caused the kite to twist and dive.

Grocery stores and dime stores sold balls of kite string back then.  The boys tied a string to the kite, put a stick through the middle of the ball of string, ran through a field with the kite over their shoulder, and the wind would get the kite airborne.  Once the kite was up in the air, the wind currents held it up, and they'd release the string off the ball to get the kite as high as they wanted.  Hubby remembers dropping the ball of string, it taking off across the grass, the ball unrolling, the kite flying away, and ending up in a tree.

The boys always made sure they saved the string for the next kite flight.  They cut a V in both ends of a 4" x 8" scrap board and wound the string onto the board.  The next time it was easier for them to unroll the string from the board than it was from the ball.

Maybe I didn't get to fly kites like hubby did, but listening to his stories is second best.  Funny thing, all these years later I find that while we were envying the town kids, they were envying us farm kids for having animals, getting to feed and play with them.  It's that silly business of thinking the other guy's life is better than mine!