One of the things I remember doing with my Poppy Lewis–besides giggling while batter oozed out of the waffle iron he overfilled and impatiently waiting for him to get around to picking peaches–was flying kites.
I don’t remember the early standard kites, but I remember the excitement of getting them out and making our way to the back edge of the property where there were no trees and no power lines. To little five- or six-year-old legs, it was a trek, but worth it.
Poppy Lews started out getting the kite in the air for me and then handing the spindle of string to me to let me feel it pull and climb. Over time I could get it in the air myself or recognize when the kite needed more tail, even how to make it dive and climb.
The kite I do remember is the box kite Poppy Lewis ordered from Zesta saltines. Once he put it together it was a huge cracker box made of wood and plastic. It baffled me how it would ever get off the ground.
But it did. It was just fascinating to see a saltine cracker box floating on invisible string in a clear blue sky. I remember wondering if a pilot saw it (there was an airfield just beyond their property) if he would wonder what a cracker box was doing up there with the clouds.
The Zesta box kite sadly marked the end of our Pennsylvania kite-flying days. Grandma Lewis died; Poppy didn’t have the heart to play anymore.
A year later we moved to Oklahoma. We were out in the country and had plenty of space were there was no power lines or trees and one thing Oklahoma has a lot of is windy days. It was here I learned that it can indeed be too windy to fly a kite.
One of my last kite memories was being amazed at how high my kite was flying, running out of kite string, and watching the kite become a spot, then disappearing.