Kite country

STANDING ON the upstairs terraza today at roundabouts 5:30 in the afternoon, I see four kites flying high.

kiteThere are two more — fatalities — dangling in a distant tree on the far side of the railroad tracks. Another one — also deceased — hangs atop the pole where electricity enters the Hacienda.

It’s the same situation every year about this time, but it seems accelerated this year, the kite phenomenon. Do youngsters — or anybody for that matter — fly kites in the United States nowadays? Or does everyone have his face stuck in an iPod? Are kites sold in five-and-dimes? Do five-and-dimes exist? We have a Woolworths in the state capital, but they’ve vanished from the United States, I hear.

I’ve seen lots of kites — both aloft and downed — hereabouts, but not one was store-bought. They are made by kids who tie and glue sticks together, and then they connect a thin plastic sheet, often cut from trash bags. The tails are pieces of trash-bag strips tied together. You gotta have a tail.

I find all this interesting, and for a few years I collected and saved the deceased kites that fell onto the Hacienda or into the yard. But the collection got too large and unwieldy, so I trashed them. The kites of Mexican kids have a high mortality rate because of the string they use. Regular sewing thread, which breaks on a whim.

Last week we were having lunch in the dining room when I looked out the big window and saw a young boy straddling the wall that surrounds our property. He was nervously retrieving a kite that had crashed into the grass. He completed his mission without actually jumping into our yard.

It’s good to see kids with imagination, inventiveness and skill.

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(Note 1: I found the photo online. It appears to be a Mexican child, but the kite is bigger and a bit better made than those found in my area. It might even be store-bought. Click on it for a closer look.)

(Note 2: The Woolworths link takes you to a photo of the old New Orleans store. I remember it well, and I shopped there now and again in the 1970s.)