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The perfect kite

Published April 24. 2010 09:00AM

Many of you said you enjoyed hearing about my daughter Kathryn's kite flying experience. In fact my dad asked if he could come along on our kite flying excursions and he even went and acquired a new kite so he could join us. The weather was too calm earlier in the week for kite flying but finally Wednesday afternoon was perfect for an encore and my dad joined us. It turned out to be fortuitous for him to have come with us because before the day ended his assistance was welcomed.

My recent excursion gave me the kite flying bug and I felt the need to have a bigger kite. My wife said it must be a "man thing", but I really wanted to fly a big kite.

On Monday, we found a discount shop that had some kites. I found the perfect kite a giant flying wing. Awestruck, I picked it up and realized it was over a foot taller than my daughter. This grail of my kite search was 85 inches wide and 51 inches tall and it fit my budget at $5. With my wife's reserved blessing and agreement that I wouldn't let Kathryn experiment with it as a hang glider or allow her to re-enact one of her favorite Curious George episodes which involved the beloved monkey flying hundreds of feet above the ground on a kite, she let me purchase it.

Two days later I'm now standing in a field feeling the power of this thunderbird of a kite wanting to fly and be free. Unfortunately for me I soon learned my feeling was more factual. I unrolled about 20 feet of twine and my monster took flight. Feeling its pull I fed it more string which it gobbled up quickly rising almost 75 feet in the air. I noticed the string unreeling was knotted and was actually two pieces of twine. I was relieved the knot was there but did not expect to see a roll of twine sold with a kite composed of individual pieces.

That should have been an "A-Ha" moment. Should have been is the key. It was not. I didn't think twice about it as I continued to feed it string and watch that beautiful eagle rise into the air. The twine kept unwinding, going, going and whoa! It was gone. Suddenly I felt a release. In shock I saw the twine separate from the reel. There in my hand was a half-empty reel with a limp end of thread hanging from it. I looked up in time to see that eagle land in the trees. My first thought was that was an expensive two minutes of kite flying followed by, "I hope I can find that beast."

I shoved the reel into my back pocket and moved toward the woods. The kite quickly came down to earth so I knew it could not have gotten very far. I found a dirt bike path and followed it down into the woods watching the tree tops as much as I could. As I came down the slight hill, there ahead of me on the path was my kite. It looked as if it was laid there, it's string carefully wound up next to it. I was so grateful. I took my reel out of my pocket and began to rewind the loose string as my father arrived.

After collecting it and as we were walking back to his car, I said to my dad, "I learned two things. Check new kites to make sure the string is intact and I should probably super glue the knots to keep them from coming apart."

We returned to our flight ground and I decided to fly my trusty old diamond kite. I've flown it several times by then, had checked the string which was tied securely around the spool and I knew that kite would not disappoint me. My dad shepherded his kite into the air and soon mine was next to his over 200 feet above our heads.

He unrolled all of his string to the spool remarking as he did that he should have checked it. I said we bought our reels at the same place and mine was tied so I was pretty sure his was. Soon we had both kites fully in flight with just the knotted reels in our hands. I was having fun keeping it in the air. As I raised my arm to make the kite bob much to my surprise the knot untied itself and my kite quickly took off into the sky.

I thought, "Not again. What did I do to the kite god to have this happen to me twice in 15 minutes?" My dad started reeling his kite in as he watched mine go and then we both realized it was stuck in the trees. He finished bringing his kite to earth and then we both headed toward the trees. After a quick search and some lucky sunlight, we spotted the string. A birch tree's branches had caught the string and was holding my kite. I couldn't believe my good fortune. We carefully relieved this wooden savior of the twine. I retied it to my spool and then reeled the kite back to earth again.

As we walked back to the open space, my dad said, "You aren't going to do this again today, are you?" I said, "Not today. I think I used enough luck for one day."

Til next time …

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