Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

This Time, Nothing but the Real Thing

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

This Time, Nothing but the Real Thing

Article excerpt

I meticulously went over the contents of the cellophane bag for the third time, but the "spreader connectors" referred to in the instructions were not there. The manufacturers apparently had forgotten to package these small plastic parts, essential to the kite's assembly and flight. The triangular sail lay spread on the floor like a proud, exotic bird whose wings had just been clipped.

"Sorry, Tim, no flying today," I said to my son, who'd just gotten the kite as a birthday present. The wind was whipping up nicely, too, gusting more powerfully by the minute. Tim was momentarily crestfallen, but then he shrugged and carried some newly unwrapped action figures outside to their first mock battle. Though I longed for him to outgrow the allure they held, I also admired how he'd contained his frustration over the kite. He was, indeed, growing up, his 11th birthday the latest benchmark in a steady progression of infinitesimal steps out of young childhood.

The wind never quit that day. Late in the afternoon, Tim and I headed in the direction it blew, along the cow paths to our farm's log sugaring cabin. This was to be a special birthday treat - over-nighting there far from chores. We'd have popcorn over the hearth, canasta by oil lamplight, wood stove macaroni, and stargazing before sleep. We arrived with our packs and collected the necessary firewood. Then before the sun dropped, we took the bat and ball we'd carried along to the big open pasture for some pitching and hitting practice. Tim stood expectantly at bat as I wound my arm back, but then a very large, dark form caught my eye. Riding the strong, warm currents above us was a turkey vulture, one of the migratory species that suddenly show up over our pastures in early spring. The big bird appeared to be going nowhere against the powerful drafts. His great, fringed wings dipped one way then another as he wheeled, retreated, and battled fiercely back. …

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