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March 14, 2013
Posted at 10:50 pm

Go Fly a Kite

Sorry. I know it's been a while since I posted and I didn't do an interview this week. It's been a crazy week or so. I don't remember how long.

Without going into too much detail, I've been trying to get the house ready for market, find my daughter and wife cars, buy myself a truck, and deal with two deaths in the family--my wife's mother and my sister. So I'm going to tell a little story and I'm not going to post it as a new story on the site, just here in the blog.

I must have been about five years old, which would make it the early 50s. There are eleven and a half years between my second oldest sister and me, which would make her sixteen or seventeen at the time. Yeah, I've got three older sisters--had three--and one younger. Dad apparently had a shortage of Y chromosomes. There are nine and a half years between me and my next older sister and five and a half between me and my youngest sister.

Oh, yeah. Let's say it was the summer of 1955. Would have been about the time my little sister was born. I wanted to fly a kite. I'm not sure how I knew what a kite was. We lived out in the country on ten acres in a house that was never completely built. We still didn't have indoor plumbing at the time--at least not a bathroom. Dad was a union man who was on strike six months out of the year, it seemed. We lived pretty well on Government Surplus peanut butter and powdered eggs.

I'm sure I'd seen Kites and probably ran around in the yard pulling a bit of paper on a piece of string. I wanted a real kite. Judy had mercy. We got a newspaper and she helped cut sticks that we could use as a frame. She tied them together like a cross and stretched string between the ends before laying the contraption on a sheet of newspaper and folding the paper over the strings and gluing it. Pretty clever big sister.

We collected binder-twine from the hay bales. Mr Brown couldn't reuse the string after it had been knotted and then cut, so we kids had string for tying branches together in the woods for a fort or whatever other thing we needed to tie together. In this instance, it was kite string.

When we finished the kite, we went to the field. I held the kite and Judy rolled out ten yards of string and we waited. The fact that there was no wind that day was no deterent to having a kite. "Okay," she said, "I'll run and when I get to the end of the string, let go of the kite. I can see you thinking disaster, but I actually did let go of the kite at the right time and it wobbled into the air, about three feet over my head as Judy ran. I ran, too.

Judy turned to look at the kite, bobbing along behind her, tripped over some hazard in the field (probably me) and fell back, hitting her head on a rock. She just lay there. When I went to see what was wrong, she was lying there looking rather dazed, her hands still winding the string into a ball. She said I'd better go get help as she didn't think she could move.

Wouldn't you know there would be no one home when I got to the house. It wasn't really all that far, but I was five. I didn't know what to do. The nearest neighbor was at least that much farther away and I didn't know them. My friends were closer to a quarter mile. I'd never walked there.

I heard a tractor and saw Mr Brown disking in the field behind the orchard across the road. I wasn't supposed to cross the road. I did the next best thing and stood by the edge and went crazy waving at him as his John Deere came toward me. I must have looked pretty crazy because he actually stopped and shut the tractor off and hiked across the road to see what was wrong.

It turned out Judy only had a small cut and minor concussion. She was given a bag of ice--I don't think she even went to see a doctor. You didn't do that in the country if nothing was bleeding.

I had a memory of flying a kite.

As of Tuesday night, I'm the only one left with that memory and I guess when I'm gone, it will be, too.