“We’ll build our own kites!” my dad announced. How quaint! Three sets of eyes looked at him in disbelief, wishing for the seven plagues of Egypt as a distraction. A kit at the grocery store, with beautiful colored paper and balsa wood struts cost 25¢, but he was already feverishly sketching the design for his kite.
My twig and newspaper prototype was a dismal failure, mainly because I used sticks the size of salamis and kept eating the paste. (If they didn’t want you to eat it, they shouldn’t have made it mint flavored). I took some comfort in the fact that Dad’s box kite had all the aerodynamic properties of a brick. At least a brick will stay airborne for a few seconds if you hurl it hard enough.
Eventually, we bought kites and waited for the only sunny day of Spring in Seattle. We chose a big open field near the Boeing plant, confident that any multi-million dollar low flying aircraft would be able to dodge our 25 cent kites. I’ve never been fast, but getting a good running start works better when you’re not sinking up to your knees in mud. Just sayin’.
Getting your kite in the air is a thrill. Standing around in a field for an hour, holding a string is not. My dad was a stubborn man. While my sisters and I tagged each other out, taking turns holding the string on our traditional kites, he persisted in trying to get his box kite in the air.
I’m sure plenty of other dads put their kids through this kind of torment. Daddy died ten years ago, and I would gladly stand in a cold muddy field to spend another day with him.