Barbara Rice

The Kite

I looked out the window at the dark, steely gray clouds. I blinked to stop the tears and watched the diffused sunlight glint over the wing as our plane heading west. The flight attendant stopped me and asked if everything was okay?  I stared out the window of the plane and though, 'Why God? Why did this have to happen now?'.  My grandmother used to call these rays of light through the clouds, the "stairway to heaven". The afternoon sunlight broke through the clouds in beams of silvery white shafts of light.

He had always been there for me.  He had been my encouragement and I was his little helper. He was warm and amusing, with corny jokes that usually embarrassed me. He would sing off key and without shame.
As I stared at the beams of light, my mind fanned through the pages of my memories.
The same beam of light broke through the gray clouds covering heaven that eventful Sunday afternoon.  I could still hear the neighborhood kids laughing and yelling. We were having a kite flying contest!
My girlfriend's father had built a box kite; another had built one with bright colors. My father decided to build one that was larger, bigger, and stronger than any other.
He took one-by-one wooden dowels and fastened them together.  He used butcher paper that was both strong and waterproof.  He stretched out and knotted old rags and to make a kite tail at least 10 feet long! Wow! This was going to be great!
Finally, he attached a strong length of cord to the kite and headed out to the field where all the kids were flying their kites.  I tagged along with my chest puffed with pride and head filled with conceit. Just wait until everyone saw OUR kite! The kite of all kites! My father asked me to hold the kite and run towards him as fast as I could.

No, I want to do it, I protested. "

No, honey, this kite could pick you up off the ground and lift you up in the air. You had better let me do it."

The stern and serious way he said it sounded ominous and frightening.  The thought of a kite lifting me into the sky was unimaginable. I was more impressed than ever. This kite would show everyone, they would stop laughing at me, and they would be my friends. This kite was the key to happiness. I was going to be transformed from an ordinary kid to someone special.
I grabbed hold of the kite and ran off down the field. "Okay, honey. RUN!" he yelled.  

I ran as fast as I could, the tail fluttering out behind me as I ran like lightening. The wind caught the kite, lifted out of my hands and climbed into the air. My fingers outstretched, towards the sky.  Looking back now, it reminded me of pictures of Hugh Hefner's Spruce Goose airplane. Huge, white, and, well, somewhat ugly! Boy, could it fly!
The kite climbed higher and higher, slicing through the beams of light from heaven and casting a shadow on the earth.  Higher and higher it flew as the cord cut into my father's hands until the kite was a small speck in the sky. 

 Everyone stared in awe.  Speechless! Yes, this was our kite! 

 Then -- as suddenly as it started, the cord slackened; no longer stretched taunt. The kite paused in the air, suspended by some invisible hand, and then it began to drop. Slowly spiraling round and round; then, it fell, faster and faster until it was headed straight down like a rocket.

Crack! It smacked dead cold into the ground, busting in pieces.  I ran up, horrified, angry, hurt, and stared at the crumbled kite.  How it could crash after my father had worked so hard making it? How dare it? As I stood there staring down at the mangled heap feeling tears well up inside, I felt horrible. All my dreams shattered. What of my dad?  I turned and looked at his face as he picked it up. He smiled and said,

"What do you know, it flew".
He seemed more surprised that it flew than that it crashed. I was amazed!

I learned a lot from an incident like that one and others over the years. I learned that we should not brood about the negative aspects of what we lost but find amazement in the fact that it was ever ours.

I blinked and looked out the window, my mind settling back into the present. I watched the sun's beam of light - the 'stairway to heaven' and I knew my father was fine. I turned my face to the flight attendant and tried to smile as tears broke and streamed down my cheeks.  

"Yes, everything is okay".

The phone call that he had passed away was a distant memory now. He would miss the birth of his grandson due in 2 months - but I knew God had sent me a sign that my father was in heaven, surrounded by wood shavings, the smell of his work bench, and he was okay. He was busy making things for God and marveling that they worked, as the sun streamed down from heaven.


All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Barbara Rice.
Published on on 08/25/2007.


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