Two quick moments with my father

As part of my evolution as a writer I have submitted a number of pieces to the Sun, a literary magazine out of North Carolina.  So far five pieces have been published in the section “Readers Write”.  This piece was published in December 2015.  It is followed by a poem I wrote in November 2016.

Little glimpses of my father.

Flying

A red-and-black Hi-Flier kite with the words PLAYMATES OF THE CLOUDS printed across it cost just ten cents in the 1950s, and my Papa would buy several, anticipating that only one might survive the assembly process. He was terrible at building kites and would order me to put my finger on the knot while he struggled to tie the sticks together. He often ended up tearing the thin paper. He had little patience but plenty of Scotch tape.

Once a kite was completed, he would tie strips of cloth together to make a tail, which kept it from making endless circles in the air. Too long a tail, however, and the kite would crash to the ground.

When it came time for the first flight, I would hold the kite, and Papa would hold the string and run and yell for me to let go. If the kite spun out or faltered, he would yell again, but if it stayed up, he would soberly hand me the stick with the string that formed a thin connection between me and his creation.

One time, when the kite was flying well and my papa was calm, he took out a scrap of paper and a pencil and told me we were going to send a “letter” to the kite. He asked what our message should be. Afraid of making the wrong suggestion, I said nothing. He wrote the command “Fly high” on the paper, then taped it around the string, making a cone shape. The wind pushed the cone up the string toward the kite until it almost faded from view.

The days my papa and I spent together were too few. I remember a fishing trip, and one time he helped me with my homework. And I remember that kite-flying day, when I held the string without speaking. I remember it was hard to hold the kite steady in the strong wind. I remember the message on the thin line. I remember being afraid that the string would break.

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My Father’s Pen

mother of pearl patterns

green

his favorite color

fountain pen.

 

He carried it everywhere for

fifty years

dipping and filling it from

a reservoir of black ink

hoping to free dreams

trapped in thoughts

 

I saw him use it to sign

contracts

agreeing to teach

at far away high schools

year after year

 

I heard the pen in summers only

scratching on

the margins of typed pages

while our cat scratched on the screen door

wanting to get out.

 

It lives in my desk drawer now with

his class ring

 

green

Mother of pearl pen

still

beautiful

empty

waiting to be filled

Author: talks2trees

I'm a recent writer and retired teacher. Married for more than half my life to Ariana I am content now to travel with her to warm places while snow swirls around our home in upstate NY where we live two houses away from my son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. Our daughter lives just a block away so our decision to travel is not without a consequence. However we have taken very few vacations in our married life so this journey, that starts in Costa Rica, is very new.

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