These words were often used when I was a kid by someone who was basically telling you to go away and leave them along. I always thought it was funny that someone who obviously didn’t care for you would be nice enough to suggest that you go do something fun instead. I mean, flying a kite is amazing! Of course, I’d prefer it over spending time with someone who didn’t want me hanging around. Other phrases like this included, “go jump in the lake,” which sounds like a blast, “go climb a tree,” equally fun and “go fry an egg,” which just sounds absolutely delicious. It seems strange that so many American idioms for “go away” back then, ended up being such weirdly pleasant suggestions. Sure, these days, it’s far more likely you’ll be told to “F*** Off” but in those days, even if said in anger, the words to get you to leave were just super fun ideas! In fact, once, when I was told to “go fly a kite!” by a group of older children, I just rushed right home to my mother and asked her to buy me one.

My mother obliged and I soon had a kite of my very own. I would own several in my lifetime and I’m not sure if a rainbow one was first, but it showed up at some point as it was the least offensive one at the discount store. The first time I flew a kite, it was both marvelous and terrifying. Getting a kite into the air is the first goal and turned out to be far more difficult than I imagined, but I managed to do it. The adrenaline of it actually happening quickly gave way to wondering if I could hold on or if it would take me away with it. The wind swirled and started to howl and the string, that now seemed too thin to be of any real use was pulled so tight it looked like it would snap at any moment. I’m thinking that I cried at some point, but that could have easily just been the wind in my eyes, or at least that’s what I would tell my friends later. My kite suddenly looked so small in the sky and I realized I had no clue how to get it back.

I started to reel it in slowly just as a gust of wind came and knocked it toward the ground. But before coming down it suddenly swirled back into the sky. I was holding on so tightly that my fingers were turning blue. That’s when I heard the snap and stumbled backward, as all of the pressure suddenly stopped. In the sky I could see my beloved kite flying off into the distance and beyond the trees. It kept getting smaller and smaller in the sky until I couldn’t tell if I was still seeing it all. I was afraid to tell my mother I had messed up, but after she saw me come back with just a spool of twine, she smiled and asked, “do you want to go get another kite?” I was immediately relieved that I wasn’t going to be punished for my kite flying failures. And I smiled back. But suddenly, I didn’t feel like flying a kite again so soon after that experience, so I said, “No, I think I’m going to go jump in the lake.”

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About the Doodlewash

Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Dioxazine Purple, Indian Yellow, Quinacridone Gold, Red Orange, Sennelier Red, Phthalo. Green Light, Phthalocyanine Blue, and Ultramarine Blue. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.

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23 thoughts on “Go Fly A Kite!

  1. I have good memories of flying kites. 😄 I like your Doodlewash, Charlie – it brings back the thrill of seeing a kite floating in a blue sky on a lazy afternoon. I miss those lazy afternoons as a child where we seemed to have all the time in the world! 🌈💕

  2. Another wonderful story, Charlie, I think you’re on to something as a story teller and artist. This painting is perfect, it’s exactly how these kites look – great job.

    We love going to the beach and watching the kite flyers with their big, elaborate kites dancing in the wind, twisting, turning, leaping like frogs overhead. When our sons were young; we decorated their rooms with big kites tacked up on the ceilings of their rooms – so colorful.

    Your mom is an amazing person – you’re a very lucky guy to have such a loving, understanding mom. She gave you just the right amount of support and freedom to let you be you.

  3. Asking your mom for a kite after being told by mean kids to “go fly a kite” is the perfect metaphor for your sunny disposition, Charlie! Ditto for deciding to go jump in a lake. 🙂 People can be jerks sometimes — but it’s up to us how we respond to that jerkiness. Good for you for responding with such humor and positivity (and a lovely, luminous little painting, to boot!). ❤

  4. Aw, I love all of this! And that kite is so beautiful, the fresh sky, those colours and all those little ripples and folds in there. Perfect. I never knew of all these euphemisms for, essentially, F off… what a treat. How wonderfully innocent they seem – bring ’em back!

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