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Kite Flying by the Pond

March 22, 2012

Today was a perfect afternoon–the kind that almost makes me like daylight savings time.  I got home from work around twenty after four and within fifteen minutes the girls and I were out the door and walking over to the large pond/small lake on the property of our complex.  Kite in my hand, ball tucked under Abby’s arm, we marched in a little row to our favorite spot.  There’s a little concrete picnic table there with a beautiful view of the water, and a large grassy space around it perfect for lounging.  There’s even enough space to get a kite in the air if there’s enough wind.  It seemed like there was today.

Kite flying is something full of very fond memories for me.  As a child, my father and I joined the Minnesota Kite Society and about once a month we would go to their “fly-ins” to put kites in the air and socialize.  Even in the winter we would fly kites–often on frozen lakes or snowy fields bundled up in layer upon layer of winter wear.  I remember taking breaks from flying kites to put on my ice skates and skate around on a lake, or to make a snow angel in a  field.  In the fall we would have a “fly-in” once a year at an apple orchard.  The owner let us pick a few bushels of free apples in exchange for the publicity our kites would bring–dozens of people would pull off the highway to her orchard to find out what was up with all the kites in the air.  And, of course, they would grab some apples while we were there.  I even remember being there one lucky year when the raspberries were ready to harvest and gorging myself on their delicious fruit.  The orchard isn’t there any more–it’s a cornfield now.

Kite flying is how my dad taught me to sew–piecing together sections of rip-stop nylon and using single fold bias tape to create pockets for dowels to stiffen the kites into shape.  Learning how to sew with rip-stop nylon had its advantages.  The material is slippery to sew with a machine and temperamental at best.  The first time I tried to sew a dress (around eleven or twelve), I was shocked at how easy simple cotton was to move through the machine.  All I had to do was learn how to read a pattern and I was set.  Together, he and I made large sled kites that could almost pull me off the ground, miniature kites using toothpicks and sheer plastic material with thread for the string and just about every type of kite in between.  Dad even figured out how to make a simple sled kite out of paper bags, and he went around raising money from various organizations to buy supplies for them.  He would go into schools in disadvantaged areas and teach the kids how to make a kite.  I went with him a lot, when I could, and I remember the wonder on the faces of kids who had probably never seen a kite before except in a movie.  The first time they got one into the air, it was as if it were by magic.

So now as I take my girls out to fly a kite, I feel a deep joy that goes far beyond the simple pleasure of watching them discover something new and amazing.  I can almost feel like my dad is there, even though he is several states away.  And even when the wind dies to nothing and I pull the kite in as fast as I can to keep it from landing on a roof–thus hopelessly knotting up the string–I feel a funny sense of Deja vu.  How many hundreds of kite strings did he untangle for me?

From → Motherhood, Sewing

  1. Thanks for the great memory! I had a puffer kite which was unique to the 70’s. It was a great hobby to have with MY dad as well. Feeling very warm and happy now!

    • I’m glad I brought happy memories to your mind! 🙂 Kite flying with my dad are some of my happiest childhood memories.

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