Most Americans know that “go fly a kite” is telling a person to go away. It’s just one of the many idioms that mean the same thing. I was such a dork when I was young that when my mother told me to go fly a kite, I literally left to go fly a kite. It wasn’t a big deal. I used to fly kites every summer, along with two or three of my brothers. It was so long ago, it takes an act of God (a lot of wind) to jog my memory. The wind last night, followed by rain, sparked my memories of flying kites when I younger than 17. I haven’t tried to fly one since then.
Well, when I was young teen (and probably younger), we bought kites made of paper at the closest five-and-dime store. We had to roll a kite off the sticks to use as the frame. They were really cheap and weren’t designed to last very long. We even had to poke a hole in the paper to tie the string to the spot where the sticks crossed.
We had to make our own tails for the kites. We used old rags, made of clothing that would normally be thrown away. The length and weight of the tails depended on how much wind was available.
When my family lived in Hawaii (when I was between the ages of 13 and 16), it seemed like I was the only one left who was still interested in flying a kite. One day, my mother brought a plastic kite home. It was a lot larger than what I was used to, and more difficult to put together. It didn’t last long, but not because it was cheap. It wasn’t cheap.
Like Charlie Brown, my brothers and I lost a lot of kites in trees. We also lost them when they got hung up on power lines.
I lost my kite in Hawaii when it went down in the pasture behind my house. I don’t know why bulls are used in fighting (“bullfighting”) when cows behave the same way. It must be the horns. Anyway, I tried to get to the kite before the cattle did, but I wasn’t fast enough. By the time I got there, nothing but shredded plastic remained.
It just isn’t something that’s practiced where I live, here in the Philippines. I’ve been here for more than 10 years and I’ve yet to see a single kite being flown.
It probably wouldn’t be a good idea in my neck of the woods. There are way too many trees and power lines around us. To practice the art of flying kites, you need wide open spaces and unfortunately, that would mean making a special trip to somewhere else.
By: RT Cunningham
June 20, 2016
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