Archive for June 2013

Happy Father’s Day

June 15, 2013

Go Fly a Kite by Steven J. Callis

It was a great day to be a 10 year old boy.  Sunshine, blue skies, white puffy clouds, breezy winds, and nothing to do!  I am not sure, sometimes, where little boys get their ideas.  I had never flown a kite before, but this seemed like the perfect day to try it.  How hard could it be?  Hold on to a string and watch the kite dance and float through the air!

It was my dad’s day off, and I knew he would be very busy.  Nevertheless, I mustered the courage and asked him to take me down to the drug store, where Uncle Perry was a pharmacist, to buy a kite and some string.  It would not take very long, and I would be out of his way the rest of the day, I reasoned.

It was a bright red and blue Superman kite.  At least, that is what I had pictured in my mind.  Then it happened: dad said no!  Was he too busy?  Did we not have the money?  My disappointed little mind wondered.  Now what was I going to do with my day?

A while later I happened out to the garage and saw my dad busy at his workbench.  I asked him what he was doing, and he replied, “I’m making a kite.”  I volunteered to help, and there we were, looking for materials to build a kite.

He had already found a clear, dingy, dirty tarp for the body of the kite, using coat hangers as the crossbows.  I noticed he also had some old t-shirts that had been transformed into shop rags.  They, too, were dirty and greasy.  He was tying them together, explaining that this would be the tail.  I didn’t even know kites had tails!

Finally, we needed string, and lots of it, he told me.  Searching beneath his work bench, he came across 3 or 4 balls of tangled string with grease spots here and there.

After what seemed like a very long time, the kite was complete.  I looked at it and tried to act excited, but there were two thoughts running through my head:  First, it was huge!  Twice the size of “my” kite, this thing would never fly!  Second, it was, well, ugly!  Not the beautiful red and blue that “my” kite would have been, but a dingy-looking piece of plastic.

We carried this monstrous ragged flying machine to the front yard that was sloped downhill toward the street.  My memory fails me at this point.  I don’t really recall how it happened, but my next memory is my dad handing me the piece of wood with string wrapped around it, saying, “Okay, it’s up in the air. She’s all yours.  Have you got it?”

He told me I could gradually let out more string if I wanted to do so – just don’t let go!  Then, something miraculous happened.  That dirty, dingy, raggedy homemade kite – flying high in the sky, began to glisten as the sun reflected off the clear plastic tarp.  It was beautiful.  A friend rode by on his bicycle and wanted to know where I got my kite.  He wished he had a kite like mine.  I proudly declared, “My dad and I built it this morning.”

I did not fully appreciate, or even realize, the lessons my dad taught me that day.  He could have taken me to the store, bought a kite, and been rid of me for the rest of the day.  That would have been a generous gesture.

Instead, he gave up nearly half of his day for me – time that he could never recover.  He chose sacrifice over generosity.  And, he left me with a lifelong memory of the day my dad and I built and flew a kite together. It would become the biggest, coolest, highest flying kite I would ever know.

Thanks, Dad, for the many ways you expressed your love for me over the years.  I love you, I miss you, and I long to see you again – please save me a seat at the Master’s banquet table.