Post 44/2021 Friday 29 October . . . Tuesday, while getting a haircut, the barber asked me what I had planned for the rest of the day. “I’m going to fly a kite,” I said. He stopped mid-snip and said, “Really? It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a kite fly.” I told him this was the first time this year I was going to fly our Sprite kite.
We were on a day trip to South Haven, Michigan, two hours from home. No heavy agenda, back roads, a walk, lunch, a haircut at Combs Barber Shop, and flying our vintage Sprite.
We bought the kite in the mid-1970s, I told the barber, for something like $25 (I wasn’t fast enough to say, “Double the price of a haircut today.”) He continued, “I don’t think kids today fly kits.” Again, I was too slow to say, “This kid does.” Instead, I said, “Ya, they’re mostly glued to their screens.” Every conversation has its ups and downs. This one, despite my missed timing, was up, way up in surprise, response, reflection and follow-up.
Before walking to the beach, we were ready for lunch. Many of the restaurants only opened in the evening, others were closed for the season or because of a staff shortage, so we had lunch for the first time ever at the Black River Tavern. Good soup and we shared a perch dinner with fries and coleslaw. Nice meal, worth a return visit.
After lunch, we headed to South Beach, a nice walk along the Black River channel to Lake Michigan. The weather was ideal: sunny, on the cold side, but with just the right breeze to immediately lift the kite as high as I wanted to unspool the line. I probably let it fly 150 to 200 feet high, not ready to unreel the full 500-foot string. It soared like a Sprite, sail swirling left and right, tail flapping in a spiral, a gentle tug coursing the line.
“Pure joy,” I said as I poked my head in at Combs when we came back from the beach. “You did it, you flew your kite?” the barber asked. “Sure did, pure joy.” I’m guessing the conversation among the two barbers and the few customers might have veered to the wonders of odd hobbies, kids today, or related memories of childhood. So be it.
I’ve looked up some references to kites. They were invented by the Chinese some 2,500 years ago. The 1964 musical Mary Poppins features the delightful song, “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.” The opening line: “Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest height . . .”
The expression, “Go fly a kite,” is an American idiom that was also used to tell someone to go away, leave them alone. Similar expressions were, “Go jump in the lake,” or, “Go climb a tree.” What a nice way to tell someone to go away and have fun. Sadly, these expressions have been replaced by less sanguine expletives that we have no need to repeat here.
In addition to telling the barber, “Pure joy,” I could have added, from Mary Poppins, “Father Time is laughing.” All in all, our Sprite kite and the whole day trip helped our spirits soar.
Here’s a joke I found, “What do you call a monster who flies a kite in a lightening storm?” Answer: “Benjamin Franklinstein.”
South Haven, Michigan
The town is located on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Greencroft has no shore, but it does have a number of ponds (water features), that exude a sense of calm as ducks swim about, but residents have been upset in recent years about the large number of Canada geese who also enjoy the setting. A committee worked with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources on measures to address the “goose problem.” There was one goose in particular who seemed to attract and father a big following. That goose was moved to a more suitable body of water some distance away.
I’ve had these quotes on a sheet of paper long enough, ready for recycling. Hope one or more tickle your fancy.
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Mark Twain
“There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.” Henry David Thoreau
“If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read, ‘President can’t swim.'” the late Lyndon B. Johnson
“In these times you have to be an optimist to open your eyes when you awake in the morning.” Carl Sandburg
“It seems to me that trying to live without friends is like milking a bear to get cream for your morning coffee. It is a whole lot of trouble, and then not worth much after you get it.” Zora Neale Hurston
There’s a book titled, Leave me alone, I’m reading. I have yet to read it. But I did just finish a novel by Alexander McCall Smith this week: The Man with the Silver Saab (2021). Good read. Relaxing. Set in Sweden. Main character, detective Ulf Varg, is also an art buff. He gets into a patch when someone reports him for using his blue light in near-stalled traffic to get his injured dog to the vet. He and colleagues solve the mystery, of course, and Varg comes to terms with some personal issues. Happy outcome for everyone, including the dog.
Go, read a book. Fly a kite. Search out a silver Saab. Bake a pumpkin pie. I’m going to have breakfast and then we’re going for a walk.