A Norman Rockwell Father’s Day

“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.

18 thoughts on “A Norman Rockwell Father’s Day

  1. Yep, my Dad totally put me through kite-making and kite-flying attempts……along with fishing and baseball. We went fishing and to the Atlanta Braves games and we liked it. Even when we didn’t like it, we liked it. We don’t do those things anymore when I go visiting, mostly because of his health, but also because I finally admitted to him that I’m a swimming and football fan, not so much on the fishing and baseball. Dad also makes homemade wine from muscadines. Absolutely syrupy grapey goodness, and I get snockered. I hold on to every precious moment with him, because you never know. Loved this post, Karla. You are amazing.

  2. I don’t remember kite-flying. My dad taught me a lot of things though…cooking, drawing, writing, astronomy. And he refinished boats; he always let me help him even when I was very little. That was my favorite quality tile with him, working on boats.

    • Not many people can say they refinished boats with their dad. I’m always surprised to find which special memories my kids have from their childhood.

  3. Not to mention hiking to Wallace falls in the drizzle and dining on peanut butter and jam sandwiches once we got there. My fingers were so cold they were white. I always think of him when I’m putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

  4. My dad wasn’t into kites…however, my FIL, ever the inventive one, made kites for his son to fly….after we were married!!!! We went out near where we lived, and “tested” out these stupid kites…

    God I hate kites….LOL

  5. That was a nice tribute to your Dad. Hope you can find time to check out my tribute to mine tomorrow.

  6. I know how you feel, Karla. My dad’s been gone twenty years now, and I wish I could celebrate Father’s Day with him again.

    He taught me how to operate a bulldozer….

  7. He finally bought an expensive delta kite and spent one beautiful sunny day at the beach flying it for about 12 hours. He was fried when he finally came back to the motorhome. I had a cheaper one but I couldn’t keep it from flying into the ground. Thanks for the tribute to him and I cried when I read it.

  8. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with my Dad when I was a kid. He worked too much. We spent more time together when I got older. If he was still here, he’d have the chance to do the kite flying thing with the Grandson he never met, but I believe he sent me (Chris’s original due date was 1 year to the day that my father passed).

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