Kite Season

It seemed like there were seasons for things when I was in grade school. Of course, when I got to high school there were seasons as well, but they were the obvious things; football, basketball, baseball, and the likes. But in grade school, it seemed like there were seasons for weird stuff.

For instance, I remember there would always be a certain time of year when all kids had yo-yos. Remember that? It seemed like there were even yo-yo tournaments, where the kid who could do the most tricks or do them best won a yo-yo trophy, or a trip to yo-yo-world.

Then there was squirt gun season; the teachers hated that, and we’re in the constant process of confiscating squirt guns. I wonder what they did with all those squirt guns. And, why did they care if we had squirt gun wars on the playground anyway? I t was just a little bit of water (usually). There was the rare occasion when a brave soul would stealthily raise his desk and from behind its cover, blast the guy in the next row. Now that kid deserved to have his weapon confiscated; only a fool would squirt somebody in the classroom when a teacher was right there!

And then there was the one season that made sense: Kite season! If I recall, it was always in April or May, when the winds were kicking up pretty good every day. I always figured it was kite season year round where my cousins lived—my hometown of Borger, Texas. As far as knew—and still subscribe to the assumption—the wind blows about forty miles an hour there every day. In fact, I remember my grandpa saying, more than once, it was the only place in the world you could stand knee-deep in mud, and have sand blow in your face. He wasn’t lying, either! One summer when I visiting my cousin Ed, I actually had sand blow in my face while it was raining!

But back to the kite thing; there was this one time when I was about eleven or twelve, and me and Barry were flying our kites in a vacant lot one street over from my house; you could see my house from where we were. Anyway, I get this bright idea I should see how far my kite can go, so I start adding string. I don’t know where we got it all, but we kept adding one roll of string after another, and pretty soon, the kite was just a spec on the horizon. I have no idea how far out it was, but it was a long ways! Then the unthinkable—at least I hadn’t thought of it—happened. Mom called me to come home for supper.

So, I start winding up the string. I wound, and I wound; Barry spelled me for a bit then I wound and I wound. My arms were beginning to ache from all the winding; thank God Barry was there to help! We were actually on the street he lived on, and down about three houses—right in front of Barry’s cousin, Lisa’s house, as a matter of fact—and we could see Barry’s house from where we were, too. His mom called him to come to dinner.

I begged him not to go, but to no avail, and as he jogged toward his house, Mom yelled for me again. I detected that edge in her voice that mom’s get when they have to call you more than once.

I was in a pickle; not to mention a sweat. My arms and shoulders ached, I was hungry, and as I said, I was working up a darn good sweat; and the kites was still a speck—slightly larger than when we’d began reeling it in, but nowhere near actual size. Mom called again, and the third time threat (not to mention the dreaded middle name).

“Charles Lee! If you aren’t in this house in five minutes, you will get no supper!”

I looked at the kite then at the huge ball of string wrapped around the too, small stick I’d started with and made a decision; it was a tough one for an eleven-year-old, but I did what had to be done—I cut the string with my trusty Boy Scout pocket knife. I watched as the kite seemed to race across the sky, darting and dodging as if to avoid unseen attackers then I turned raced for home.

When I got to the table, and slid into my chair, I must have looked a fright; the old man looked at me with his sneer/grin and said, “What you been doin’, boy? Chasin’ cars?”

I slumped in my seat and stared at my plate, trying to decide what I could say that would make sense to him; couldn’t come up with a thing, so I told the truth. “Flying my kite.”

He snorted laughter, and said, “Yeah, right. Did it get away from you?”

I slowly raised my gaze up to meet his, and with a sideways grin—trying to match his—said, “Yep.”

(Oh yeah, I almost forgot about marble season. I hated marble season! I’ll tell y’all about it later.)


  1. Sherry said

    You seem to have a thing about losing kites . . . remember when you and I used to go out to a field and fly kites? You lost yours and for several seasons after, whenever we’d see a kid flying a kite, you would look at me mournfully and state, “I used to have a kite.”

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