I wasn’t going to blog this Friday, since now that I have a cover, I’m hard at work on the final stages of uploading my first effort to Smashwords, Kindle, and Nook. I chose Lady Silence, by the way. Although the last of my six Signet Regencies, I felt it might—with its “soap opera” ending (not a dry eye in the house)—have an appeal beyond the lovers of traditional Regencies.
BUT - yesterday afternoon, while taking the grandchildren picnicking at the Orlando area’s largest woodland park, an incident occurred that deserves to be recorded. Let’s face it, on the homefront as well as the world-wide scene, TV and newspapers regale us with disaster after disaster. (For example, just this week the husband of the city manager of the upscale Orlando suburb where Tiger Woods lives, attacked the town’s mayor at a meeting, knocking him out. And a sixteen-year-old tried to rape a girl in the backseat of a schoolbus!) Sometimes, one can only wish we’d hear more about good deeds. So here’s the story of what happened when the little girls and I tried to fly kites at Moss Park.
I’d planned only an after-school picnic with my three grandchildren, aged almost 8, 6, and 4. But the wind was so blustery it was scaling the plates right off the table, so the girls asked if we could get the kites out. But we weren’t having much luck as the wind was gusty, one minute grabbing the kites, the next plunging them into the ground. Even our strongest “high wind” kite had trouble staying up. Part of the problem: we were in an open field ringed by tall trees, and I didn’t dare let out a lot of string.
The girls ran off to the playground nearby, and I thought I’d give the big kite one last try. As I picked it up, a man came over and asked if I’d like some help. (He was around thirty, and he and his wife had been watching their children play in the playground.) I said, “Sure,” and of course he had that kite up and flying a hundred feet off the ground in less than a minute. He warned me about the tug on the line and then handed it over. (His family was waiting in the car, ready to go home.) Talk about wind! It all but lifted me off the ground. I immediately started to reel in, as the hazard of that much line around trees was obvious. Because the pull was so great, I had my eyes on the winder, not on the kite, trying to keep the line from tangling, and OH-OH, the kite lodged in the top of a live oak.
For those who live in the south and know live oaks, I hasten to say this one was young, maybe only thirty feet tall, but as far as I was concerned, it might as well have been sixty. Our successful kite-launcher came loping back, and I asked if he had a knife to cut the line. (I wanted to save the expensive winder.) He said, “What for?” and promptly launched himself into the tree.
I stood with mouth agape as he climbed and climbed. There were so many leaves I couldn’t actually see him well - and I sincerely hoped his wife couldn’t see what he was doing. In no time at all he was 25-30 feet up, trying to dislodge the kite. It was stubborn, but he took the time to untie all the knots I’d put in it, separating the kite from the string. Then he wrestled the kite loose and dropped it down, where it stuck on a branch only about nine feet off the ground.
He descended, crawled out on the lower branch, and dropped the kite to the ground. Meanwhile, I had reeled in all the line. The three little girls had come back from the playground by this time and witnessed the last of this gallant rescue. I was nearly speechless when our hero dropped back to earth. I shook his hand, stammered out my most sincere thanks, and off he went, back to his waiting family.
I took the little girls down to a lakefront beach and let them wade for a while after that, while I smiled to myself and thought about the passing encounter that served to remind me that there are some very nice people in this world.
A salute to nice guys everywhere!