Go fly a kite.
Simply said, but in a different tone, the phrase was meant sarcastically.
Over 2,800 years ago, it is believed the Chinese crafted kites for various reasons. The way I want to remember the phrase was as a youngster growing up on military bases where there was plenty of room to fly a kite.
Kites were the in thing during the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s. Seems like there was not a day when some kid was flying a kite on base, on the beach, in pastures or where ever we could get the kite off the ground and into the air without those troublesome trees and power lines.
We always had a choice of having a store bought kite or one we proudly made ourselves – box, Chinese, doubles, large frame, small frame and those with long tails, short tails, and no tails. Material could be newspaper, colored paper, light fabrics and light-wood and needed at least a hundred feet of string or yarn. I had to be real slick to sneak out a ball of yarn from Mom’s sewing basket and her not know it.
When I was not on a ballfield, I could be found on a large piece of land flying my kite right alongside several other kids flying a fancy store bought kite or a homemade one. We would have kite dogfights in the air with one another, trying to cause a crash of our opponent’s kite. To us it was like being two pilots flying jet fighters, battling over the skies to see who the best kite fighter was.
Each time the chance came up where we could fly a kite it was an adventure. If you used your imagination, you were a jet fighters fighting it out or going higher into the atmosphere to where you could not see your kite anymore. Yep, had it that high before, and let me tell you, you did not want to do that very often because it takes much more time to reel in a kite than it does to let it soar to the sun.
There were places on most military bases that had small hills. We would get our kites high enough when the wind was right and we would run down the hill jumping as we went and we could feel the kite lift us off the ground then let us down. It was such an amazing sensation to a bunch of kids using their imaginations.
Seems as if kite flying is not as popular today. Not many kites fly over large parcels of land, parks or beaches anymore. There is not a big demand for selling kites in stores due to technology, video games, smart phones, laptops and so many other mindless objects that keep kids from dreaming or using their imagination.
Kite flying is also a good form of non-strenuous exercise because you have to move to keep the kite scouring the skies for an invader.
Life is more difficult for kids growing up today. Kids face peer pressure, gangs, bullying, broken homes, insecurities and so much more. It is no secret as to why kids don’t take as many school tests to graduate. Federal and state government want kids to graduate without making up grades.
If anyone who reads this column thinks I should just go fly a kite, I very well may do just that. An enjoyable time that would be, flying a kite and using my imagination.
•Thomas Ammons lives in Blackshear and is a retired warden with the Georgia Department of Corrections.