Kite Flying

Yesterday’s thoughts about the arrival of Autumn set my mind back to something from my early childhood that I hadn’t thought about in a long time. I don’t know why I’ve been in such a reflective mood recently… maybe it’s the onset of a mid-life crisis. I’m not a very materialistic person, so I’m not prone to go out and buy some expensive little sports convertible. So maybe my mind is drifting back to times when I was a kid to compensate.

My father was in the Army– and he and my family were stationed in Germany where we lived for three years. Germany was not a fun place to live for me– and there are tons of stories that maybe I’ll go into at some later date to illustrate why I ended up hating being there so badly…. but I want to concentrate on something positive here. One of the coolest things that my father, my brother and I ever did in Germany was when we would frequently head out to fly kites. There was one particularly incredible spot that my dad discovered that was amazingly conducive to flying kites as high as the eye could see. Dad got so caught up in this activity that he did something absolutely wonderous. He constructed a gigantic kite that was the biggest thing I’d ever seen. It was made of strong but lightweight wood for the frame, and several layers of very strong cellophane that could withstand high winds– and an enormous tail that was impressive all by itself! Each time we went out, he’d fly this monster higher and higher. As huge as it was, he would get it so high, it looked like a little dot. Then he went one step further– he built an elaborate motorized crank for the string release/rewind so he could handle it even better when the high winds threatened to yank it away from him. He started getting the thing so high, that the local authorities had to stop him, because they were afraid it would interfere with low-flying planes (mostly the small commuter types. I don’t want to give the impression that he got it high enough to interfere with the big jets). My brother and I had our own kites to fly, and it was great to take them to that spot, because the wind would just lift them out instantly. There was no need to run and try to get lift– the wind took care of that itself. But it was more fun for me and Matt to just watch my dad and his amazing monster kite soaring higher and higher.

I hadn’t thought about that in a long time and I’m glad that for whatever reason– mid-life crisis or not– it’s a memory that surfaced. It’s a wonderful one.



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