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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Sunday, November 27, 2005

the kite

Long ago and not so far away, the winds of spring were blowing – it was kite season. The year was about 1954 and the place was a vacant field across from where Hickman Road dead-ends into Telfair Street in Augusta. This area was known to all the neighborhood kids as simply “the park”.

While I was in the army the city made a ball field, tennis court, placed playground equipment and even a block building in this large vacant area. Back before these improvements, we may have had some “no frills”swings, but the only other recreational opportunities available were the gullies we could jump – washed out by the rain.

Softball was sometimes played on a clean-it-off-and-make-your-own bases basis, but the biggie for this time of year was kite flying. Being about 13 or 14 and somewhat scrawny for my age, I watched in amazement as the “big kids” flew their kites almost out of sight.

There was a source of income available to me – albeit meager – from my paper route and I determined to procure one of these amazing wind-borne creations. Charting new territory, I bought a kite and a ball of string from a nearby five and dime (predecessor of K-mart and Wal-mart). This anchoring string was made from cotton since nylon wasn’t available – or maybe not even invented at that point – at least not in string form.

With a bit of knowledge gleaned from the experienced flyers, I put the kite together – even placing a string “belly-band” and a fairly long “tail” for stability in flight. The wind was fairly brisk and I had no trouble launching my craft of wood, paper and string.

Slowly I let the string out and gained a bit of experience in what to do and what not to do. Becoming braver I continued to let my prized flying machine go higher and higher. As I neared the end of my string, the wind suddenly increased in strength and it dawned on me in a flash that I should have placed a longer “tail” on the kite because my newly purchased beauty started uncontrollably spinning in the downward loop of “death”.

Stop to consider here that this was a time before the “throw-away” age – of things or people – and what you had was saved and repaired. As my kite disappeared below the horizon of the houses on the next block, I ran toward the place it was last glimpsed with the intent of retrieving it to fly once again.

Following my string, I finally located the kite in the back yard of a house one street over, lodged high in a mimosa tree. Up until that point I had always considered a mimosa tree as one of my friends, since we had a very friendly one in our front yard – but this one was a rogue tree and it was angrily clinging to my kite with its topmost branches.

A young man living in the house came out to offer what assistance he could as I strove in my panicked emotional state to climb high enough to reach my vessel of flight that was just beyond my fingertips. When I realized that the kite was shredded beyond repair, I felt like I had lost my best friend or my favorite puppy - I didn’t have a puppy back then, but I’m sure that’s how the loss of it would have felt.

When the young guy saw my teary-eyed, devastated condition, he brought out from their garage an old kite they had never used, still in its rolled up state and gave it to me. This consoled me enough to finally go back home and consider the awful thing that had happened to me that day.

When I finally unrolled the kite, I realized that I had something that the other kids didn’t have. The ruined kite had a picture of a “flying wing” on it – as did all the others – but the gift replacement was from another year and on it was pictured an old bi-plane of the Orville and Wilbur type and I joyed in its uniqueness.

This makes me wonder if many of us enjoy our own personal uniqueness - this because so many seem to want to be and act like someone else – famous or otherwise. In younger days, I felt different, out of place and not as good as others – but God taught me over the years to like and even enjoy who I am, and also to strive to be all He has made me to become – some days I do better at this last part than others. ec


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Good point: we seem to spend the first part of our lives trying to fit in and be like everyone else and the rest trying to be distinctively and uniquely us.

11/27/2005 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger MilkMaid said...

Enjoy who you are...that's been hard for me.

11/27/2005 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

AC - thanks for the comment - btw your hair style is very similar to mine, in fact, you probably have more on top than me. :)

Milkmaid - My journey toward enjoyment of me only began when I sought help and forgiveness from a Hgher Power. Thanks for the comment. ec

11/27/2005 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

Sometimes we are so eager to look outward, we fail to see ourselves in our true light, inwardly. We have a lot more going for us than we know; slowing down and paying attention to it is important.

11/27/2005 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Enemy of the Republic said...

Wonderful post, and thank you for your comment on my blog. I like what anvilcloud writes: you are both onto something telling about the human condition!

11/28/2005 03:23:00 AM  
Blogger WILLIAM said...

Wonderful Post. I loved kite flying as a kid and as an adult and I look forward to doing this with my son in the future. The ending of your post reminded me of a book. The Wemmick series.

11/28/2005 12:06:00 PM  

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