I wish we lived closer, but sharing favorite family memories somehow has the ability to make those miles shrink ever so slightly, just for a moment. Well Dad, I thought I'd give you something a little more lighthearted to read, in hopes of brightening your day a little, and helping you feel a little closer to your girls. :)
It was a cloudy, blustery day in March, and I was so anxious to get home I could hardly stand it. We were returning from a relatively short trip to Wal-Mart. I say relatively short, because shopping with my Dad was never a quick trip. Shopping is something of a quest when you go with Dad. On this particular day, we went in search of a kite for my sister and me.
We had both ended up with identical, pink Barbie kites. They were perfect. We got home and, with Dad's help, assembled them. This was no easy task! The kites came with flimsy plastic rods that had to be threaded through the backs of the kites in order to give them enough structure to fly. And of course, there were the tails. They looked like someone had cut up a black garbage bag with a pair of squiggly scissors, and sneaked it into the kite packaging. Nonetheless, they were attached to the bottoms of our kites, and with squealing anticipation, we got our jackets on to go outside and test them out.
My parents had recently built a home on the rural side of town, and while we had a large front yard, the landscape was still littered with plenty of trees and across the street, telephone poles complete with large, heavy wires draped in long arches high above the ground. My Mom logically suggested we wait for a day when we could all go to the park together to fly the kites. We saw the reason in this. But what is it to be eight years old without an occasional indulgence in instant gratification? After all, it was a perfectly windy day, and we didn't have to let the kites get up too high. Mom consented with Dad's promise of supervision.
So there we were - the moment of truth! Mom was strategically positioned behind the large picture window in the front of the house, video camera running, ready to forever memorialize the momentous occasion. Dad helped my younger sister get hers up in the air. She was, after all, the baby in the family, and the youngest always go first. Her kite wobbled a little, and then with the next gust of wind was airborn. She stood with the string, hanging on tight as she giggled with satisfaction. Then it was my turn. I stood in the middle of the street, with the string in my hands, and Dad on the other end holding my kite. "Okay, GO!" he shouted. We both ran, and there went my kite! I was giddy!
After a few minutes of sheer joy, the wind began playing games with us. First, my sister's kite was in peril. "Run! Keep it up!" my Dad yelled instructions. It was no use. Her kite ended up in the trees across the street. No matter, Dad came to the rescue. My sister waited patiently for her kite to be freed from its branchy prison. Then, disaster struck. My kite began to flutter in free fall. I ran, and managed to keep it up for a few seconds more . . . just long enough for it to drift into the trees! I began to whimper, and Dad reassured me that he would get to mine as soon as my sister's was free. Just be patient, he said.
I was never one to be associated with the patient type. Dad was really having a time of it, wrestling the tree's hold on the kite string, but he was winning - inch by inch. After watching this for a couple of minutes, I decided to give it a go with my own kite. After all, I was eight years old. How hard could it be? I began to tug, gently at first, then a little harder. My kite budged. It was working! My sister's kite fluttered free - Dad had fought the trees and won! Now if I could just tug a little . . . bit . . . more . . . It was almost free!
Then the unthinkable happened. My string snapped off! I crumpled to my knees in utter disbelief, totally crushed. I wailed in despair "my kite . . . my kite!" much the way someone wails when they lose a pet, or a loved one. This was serious stuff, people. Dad looked in my direction, not really sure what had just transpired. "It's okay, Amanda - we can get you another one later." He tried to comfort me, but it was no use. No other kite could possibly be as perfect as this pink, Barbie, 99 cent kite. And to make matters worse, my sister still had hers! No, this was the end. The end of my happy childhood as I knew it. I was inconsolable. I wandered into the house, my vision blurred from tears, and still sobbing, relayed the whole tragedy to my Mom, still behind the window, camera still rolling. Mom said that it was too bad I hadn't waited for my Dad, like my sister had. "Sorry, Honey. Now go to your room until you can get yourself under control."
That's all the sympathy I get? Inconceivable! I went to my room, and flung myself onto my bed, sobbing into my pillow. I would die all alone, without ever having any fun again.
And behold, the peak of my career in childhood melodrama was achieved! I did, in fact, go on to fly many more kites over the course of my growing up years. To this day, when the trees have all shed their leaves, you can still see a bit of black garbage bag looking debris fluttering in the wind across the street from my parent's house. The infamous kite lives on!