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Two sisters were having an impossible time getting their flimsy plastic kites to fly. Riley, (pictured below) would tear off down the beach with her "Strawberry Shortcake" kite dragging on the sand behind her and her younger sister's "Dora" kite was not doing any better. Despite the fact that nothing was actually 'flying', (and because no one told these girls that dragging a kite along the sand was not fun,) they were having a ball with the activity!
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Their Auntie had her hands full with the girls' 4-month-old brother, so I volunteered to help get the kites aloft. I was reminded of the fun I had flying (or, should I say, not flying) a kite that I had assiduously built and decorated for a Cub Scout activity when I was eight years old. I even went so far as to color the white cotton twine by drawing it through a wax crayon - a different color every foot or so! I don't remember if it was the especially strong wind that Saturday, (or my especially poor design,) but the kite was barely airborne when the wooden cross support snapped in two. I spent the rest of the afternoon running around the field waving the broken kite high in my outstretched arm, while my brother Greg's kite sailed high and mighty all day (damn). (Knowing myself, I'm sure I 'volunteered' kite-building advice to Greg at every opportunity. It's a good thing he didn't listen!) I digress...
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I decide the problem with the girls kites was one of balance. With my own kite, the tail had to be just the right length to counterbalance the kite's aerodynamic tendency to loop uncontrollably in flight. (I adjusted the weight of the tail by adding or removing strips of rags I had tied together to fashion a stabilizing 'rudder' for the kite. In hind sight, it's likely I was carrying too much weight that fated day and the additional strain on the fragile wooden frame was too much. But, really, I'm over it... I'm not at all bitter about being the only Cub Scout on the field with a busted kite.) Once again, I digress...
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So the fix was simple... I tied a small, four-inch stick to the bottom of the plastic tail. After a couple of adjustments to the length of the stick, the kites were flying high. And the kids were energized. (For a minute or so that is... then they were off chasing each other with sticks! Hmmmm.)