Grandma's Toys

     She lived with us sometimes, but mostly she didn't.  Somehow, she figured out that I loved things that could fly, so every year on my birthday she would send me a dollar and one of those balsa-wood gliders us kids used to play with outdoors in those days.  I liked adjusting the wings to make them do different things.  They always ended up broken, they were only balsa-wood after all.  Twenty five cents could only last so long I suppose.

     By the time I was ten, I had graduated to kites.  Grandma sent a paper kite every year along with the dollar.  Paper kites didn't last long when I had to use Ma's yarn for kite string - not strong enough, and they would get away from me in the winds of the Catskills.  Later, I got a book from the school library about box kites and built a few from just stuff on the farm.  Grandma was impressed when she saw them fly.  By then, I could afford the right string when I got to town.

     I didn't lose my love for things that could fly - teen years came and went with other interests.  I married young and had responsibilities that didn't include making a living at flying.  Eventually, I found out I could make a living in the Air Force playing with amazing things that could fly.  My wife agreed it was a good thing to do when I first joined.

     That started a journey that taught me many things.  It took me a while to accept that the purpose of things that fly was to hurt people and break things.  For twenty years I hoped I'd get away with not having to be part of it, I just wanted to make a living after all... maybe enjoy the work.  I loved the whole culture around aviation.  I was good at it.

     There were "casualties" along the way who were my friends and co-workers.  Standing at a Memorial Day ceremony, sweating in my old uniform, nervous as hell I'll be expected to say something noble and honorable,  I remember how young they were, and wonder what prompted them toward things that fly.  I wonder why I'm still here... am sad that they are not.

     I wonder about their Grandmas... and if she sent them things that could fly.
Manorkill1 Manorkill1
61-65, M
2 Responses Jun 6, 2012

What a sweet post. Thank you.

great memories