Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Kite

The Kite



“Did you bring all the supplies Bill?” asked Kevin.

“Yea.  And I guess you brung all the tools?” Bill inquired.

“All the ones we needed and then some.”

“How long do ya think it will take to build?”

“I don’t know, maybe a couple of days.”

“Won’t yer Pa miss the tools?”

“No.   He is out of town for the week playing Army.  You know, the reserves.”

“ Yea, I kinda forgot about that.”

“What about your dad?  Won’t he miss the plastic pipe?”

“Na.  As a plumber he has scads of piping of differing sizes in his workshop.  And besides I only took what ya said we’d need.”

“Well let’s get started.  According to the picture in the magazine it appears we have a lot of work to do.”

“Are ya sure that we can make this thing from a picture?”

“You bet.  All I have to do is copy the basic design and make adjustments as we go.  Besides, the article describes the concept in basic terms.”

“I wish you wouldn’t talk so technical.  You know I don’t understand things like you do.”

“Don’t worry.   I’ll keep my instructions as simple as I possibly can.  And if you don’t understand just ask and I’ll explain what I mean.”

“I don’t know why you didn’t get someone smarter to help ya with this thing?”

“It’s simple.  You keep secrets and you were the only one who could supply the plastic pipe.”

“So, yer using me?”

“Not at all.  I had the tools and you had the pipe.  It’s as simple as that.”

“Well, I still feel kinda funny.  Bob or Mike would have been a better choice than me.  They always seem to understand yer thinking better than I do.”

“Look, I chose you.  And that’s that.”

“OK.  Let’s just get goin’ on this thing.”

“Fine.  First hand me the pipe cleaner and glue.”

“One can a’ cleaner and glue coming up.”

“Now I need two eight foot sections of plastic pipe and a joint connector.”

“What kind o’ joint connector?”

“One of the straight ones so I can connect these two pipes together.”

“Not one of the three holed ones?”

“No.  One of those over there that is open on both ends.”

“Here ye are.”

“Now hold this end of the pipe so I can apply cleaner and glue to this end.”

“How high off’en the ground do ya want me to hold it?”

“About waist high.”

“Like this?”

“Yes, that’s perfect.”

“Ya want me to get the other piece?”

“Yes.  Go ahead and I’ll connect it to this one.”

“Hey.  That sags when ya hold it up.”

“It’s supposed to sag a little so when the wind catches it it won’t break under the strain.”

“I thought that wuz what all the strang was fer?”

“The string will be used to stabilize the wings so they won’t fold up onto themselves during flight.”

“Gee, I didn’t think you knew so much about building this kinda kite.”

“As I told you before it is a special kind of kite, a hang glider.”

“It still looks to me as a triangle kite that you fly by holding onto it instead of using strang.”

“Well it’s not.  And I’ve read a lot about them at the library and I think you’ll be surprised how well it works when we finish it and I fly it from Widow’s Leap.”

“How we gonna git this thing from here to Widow’s Leap?”

“We will just fold it up and carry it up to the top of the rock outcropping.”

“What do we do next?”

“Hand me those other two lengths of pipe and another joint connector and I’ll put the other spar together.”

“You want me ta hold it like I did last time?”

“Yes.  It is a lot easier to assemble that way.”

“Are ya sure this thing ain’t gonna be too heavy ta fly?”

“If the wind is right and I get a good running start on takeoff I’ll soar like an eagle on the thermals.”

“There ya go using those big words again.”


“Nothing ta be sorry ‘bout.  I’m just not as smart as you.”

“Look, let’s just assemble the flight bar and attach it to the center rib.”

“What ya need fer that?”

“Four four foot long lengths of pipe and one eight foot length.”

“That looks like a square stuck to a piece of pipe.”

“Basically it is.  The rib will be attached to the fabric and held in place by the ropes.  This will keep it level while I hang on to it in flight.”

“I think yer crazy.  This here thing won’t ever fly, with or without you hanging on.”

“Look, I’ve studied the picture a thousand times and I’m sure it will be easy enough to fly.”

“It’s gittin late.  My Pa will be home soon and he will expect me at the supper table with everyone else.”

“We are almost finished for today.  All we have to do is attach the string to the center pipe and cut it to the various lengths.  Then we can hide it in the old shed over there until tomorrow morning.”

“Come on then let’s git to it so’s I can make supper.”

“There.  It’s almost ready.  All we have to do in the morning is attach the fabric and the strings to their respective places.”

“Good.  I’m gonna go home now before I’m late, so’s I don’t git swatted.  See you here after breakfast.”

“Remember, don’t say anything about our little project to anyone not even your brothers and sisters.  Mums the word.”

“I ain’t”


“Did you make it in time for supper?”

“Yea’, but I wish I didn’t.  My Pa was in a foul mood and took it out on everybody.”

“Sorry about that.  What was he in a foul mood about?”

“Well it seems that someone ripped out all the copper piping in the new house they’re building and now my Pa has to do over all the work he did.”

“Did they call the cops?”

“Yea’ but taint gonna do no good.  Pa says that the copper is probably already sold to a junk yard in another county.”

“I had a very pleasant evening.  My Mother and I had steak and shrimp for supper and afterward rented two movies and watched them before I had to go to bed.”

“Sounds like yawl had a good time.”

“We did.”

“So we gonna finish this thing or not?”

“Yes.  I brought all the fabric to cover the hang glider.  I should be able to fly it about lunchtime, if we hurry.”

“How we gonna make the cloth stick to the pipes.”

“We’re going to use duct tape to attach the fabric to the frame.  The tape will hold it in place as long as we don’t wrinkle the tape when we apply it.”

“Where is the cloth?”

“The fabrics at the rock out cropping.  I thought it would be easier to take the glider up there to finish it because it will be on the heavy side after we attach the fabric.”

“Come on then let’s git the parts an git up the hill and finish this thang.”

“You take the back end and I’ll get the front and we’ll walk up the path to the top.”

“Ge you give me the heavy end.”

“I don’t think so.  All the weight is on the front end because that’s where all the pieces connect.”

“Then this thing won’t ever fly cause it sure is heavy.”

“Let’s just get it up the hill.”

“Don’t you need to put yer end toward the front of the rock so’s we don’t have to turn it around?”

“That’s what I intended to do.  Just swing your end around a little and lay it on the ground then spread the spars as wide as they will go.”

“How’s that?”

“Perfect.  Now we can attach the fabric.”

“Gee, wher’d ya git so much cloth?”

“I saved up my grass cutting money and ordered it on line from a kite manufacturer.”

“Wow.  Sure is a lot of cloth.”

“Here take this corner and I’ll take this one and we can spread it out over the top of the glider.”

“Now ya got it spread on top how ya gonna cut and tape it.”

“I borrowed my mom’s good cutting scissors to cut the fabric to fit the frame.”

“Which side ya want me ta hold?”

“The one you’re on is fine.  I’ll start cutting there.”

“Ok.  Now that the cloths cut how do we tape it to the pipes?”

“We’ll start on your side and pull the fabric tight against the frame as we go.”

“I’m glad we got that done.  I didn’t imagine there was so much cloth to tape.”

“There was a lot of taping to do.  And you did a good job of helping me.”

“You gonna try flying it now?”

“Yes help me get it as far back on the rock as we can.  That way I can get a good running start before I jump off the edge.”

“Are you ready?”

“As ready as I will ever be.”

“Then when I counts to three you start running.”


“Mark.  Get set. One. Two. Three. GO.”

“Here I go.”

“Ya gotta run faster.”

“I’m running as fast as I can.”

“Go.  Go.  Go.”

“I can’t do it.”

“Whad ya stop and let go of the kite for?”

“I got scared.  That’s a long way down.”

“Where’d the kite go.”

“I don’t know.  Let’s walk to the edge and see where the glider crashed.”

“Look.  The kites just floatin in a circle goin toward the medow.”

“Damn.  I knew I shouldn’t have let go.”




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