KITES FALL into our yard on a fairly regular basis. They’re interesting glimpses into the culture.
This one fell yesterday. It is, as are they always, homemade. Three cross-sticks to which is attached plastic from a grocery store bag. In this case, Merza, a local chain. A different color bag, darker, provides strips for the tail. At the end of the tail is tied a couple of leaves to provide some weight and stability.
What you cannot see because I’d already balled it up and tossed it into the trash can is the string. As a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, these homemade kites always have the same weak link, the string, which is sewing thread.
Sewing thread is used, I imagine, for two reasons: It is very light, and if these super-light kites are to soar, light string is required. Also, sewing thread is cheap.
This is a low-budget operation.
Alas, long lengths of sewing thread snap easily at altitude, and the kites fall, often into our yard.
Kids still make their own kites in Mexico. I wish I could return these carefully constructed toys to their owners, but there’s no way to know where they are.
STANDING ON the upstairs terraza today at roundabouts 5:30 in the afternoon, I see four kites flying high.
There are two more — fatalities — dangling in a distant tree on the far side of the railroad tracks. Another one — also deceased — hangs atop the pole where electricity enters the Hacienda.
It’s the same situation every year about this time, but it seems accelerated this year, the kite phenomenon. Do youngsters — or anybody for that matter — fly kites in the United States nowadays? Or does everyone have his face stuck in an iPod? Are kites sold in five-and-dimes? Do five-and-dimes exist? We have a Woolworths in the state capital, but they’ve vanished from the United States, I hear.
I’ve seen lots of kites — both aloft and downed — hereabouts, but not one was store-bought. They are made by kids who tie and glue sticks together, and then they connect a thin plastic sheet, often cut from trash bags. The tails are pieces of trash-bag strips tied together. You gotta have a tail.
I find all this interesting, and for a few years I collected and saved the deceased kites that fell onto the Hacienda or into the yard. But the collection got too large and unwieldy, so I trashed them. The kites of Mexican kids have a high mortality rate because of the string they use. Regular sewing thread, which breaks on a whim.
Last week we were having lunch in the dining room when I looked out the big window and saw a young boy straddling the wall that surrounds our property. He was nervously retrieving a kite that had crashed into the grass. He completed his mission without actually jumping into our yard.
It’s good to see kids with imagination, inventiveness and skill.
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(Note 1: I found the photo online. It appears to be a Mexican child, but the kite is bigger and a bit better made than those found in my area. It might even be store-bought. Click on it for a closer look.)
(Note 2: The Woolworths link takes you to a photo of the old New Orleans store. I remember it well, and I shopped there now and again in the 1970s.)
SITTING ON THE web chair Friday next to the glass-top table on the yard patio and under the big brown umbrella, I look over yonder, admiring this photo scene I’ve seen a gazillion times and that people who’ve visited here with any regularity have seen 563 times. No matter. I love it, and I’m a sharing sort of fellow.
At noon, the sky was mostly clear. It had not rained the past few days. Could the Mexican monsoon be over? Let us pray so, which is what I considered doing as I sat with my Kindle reading H.L. Mencken’s Newspaper Days, one of a recently issued Days trilogy. The other two books are Happy Days and Heathen Days.
I’ve never read a book by Mencken before, just the occasional quote. Here is one that I, of course, concur with:
“Whenever A annoys or injures B on the pretense of saving or improving X, A is a scoundrel.”
But that was yesterday. It broke my heart when late in the afternoon, the skies over the mountains blackened (no racial ill will intended), but it held off. No rain. And here this morning, Saturday, it is overcast but still dry.
However, there was a tropical storm out in the sea, and that could dump an arm of the Mexican monsoon on us today. Perhaps those black clouds last night were related. Looks marginally clear right now.
I think the Goddess controls the overall atmosphere and perhaps contracts out tropical storms to some other spirit. I hope she keeps the storm spirit under her thumb today. She can be stern when needed.
Speaking of the Goddess and the related Christian God, have you been following the hubbub in Houston where the lesbian mayor wishes to have final say over sermons in churches? She doesn’t want anybody disagreeing with gay marriage or, I suspect, anything related to the collectivist playbook.
They brook no disagreement. The First Amendment pains them.
The backlash has been fierce, and it appears she’s tucking her tail between sections of her ample hindquarters and heading behind the nearest Texas duck blind.
Are there any lesbian conservatives? There are conservative gay guys, but is there even one lesbian conservative? Probably the only person to come close would be Camille Paglia, but it’s dang difficult to pigeonhole her. She’s conservative only in some areas, depending on her mood when she wakes each morning.
Let’s hope it does not rain today, and the kids in the barrio can fly their homemade kites. I’ve seen quite a few this week. At the moment, one is hanging high and stranded in a tree across the street. It’s visible through the window over the monitor. Another crash-landed two days ago in our back patio. I would have liked to reunite it with its master, but no telling where he might be.
The local kids paste these things together and launch them with a line of sewing thread. It’s always sewing thread, which breaks very easily, of course, when it’s half-a-mile long.
If the rain stays at bay another day, we’ll see more kites flying. It’s not advisable to fly a kite in the rain because you might have a Benjamin Franklin moment, and that could get ugly.
I was sweeping night dust from the terraza just after dawn when I came upon the kite. Like some dreams and some people, it had flown and fallen.
It was homemade, which is the only kind of kite that flies in these parts, nothing from the five-and-dime, made by kids from the plastic of trash bags, thin sticks, tape and string. The tail consists of trash bag strips tied together.
These are playthings from a century back above the Rio Bravo. I have one hanging on the Garden Patio wall, and now I have another. I’d love to return it to its owner but, short of putting a recording and loudspeaker on a burros’ back and letting him wander the neighborhood, there’s no way to do that.
It’s a shame because, aside from the cheap materials, they are very carefully made. But their high lives are brief, and some come to live with me.