This morning I was awakened by the sound of a small plane flying low overhead. Aha. They’re coming in for the Fathers Day Fly-in at the Torchport, I thought. I’m going over there for breakfast in a little while—just as soon as I get my Fathers Day post done. It would never do to have LaMirada Bob and Bonnie his Beloved log on and find no greeting.
Dad says this is 1957, and he is more reliable as to these details than I am. It is certainly out in the meadow at Gram and Grampa Smith’s farm outside Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and that is certainly my little self, watching intently as Dad winds up the rubber band engine on a balsawood airplane. That is certainly my cousin Steve, who became a grandfather this year. I am still astonished that Steve managed to persuade Anita to marry him, so you can imagine what a lovely surprise it is that their tribe has increased in such a satisfactory manner. I digress.
I loved those airplanes. You could get them at the dimestore. They came as a kit, and you had to be careful about pressing the balsawood parts out of the diecut sheet. It is amazing how much fun a couple of kids could have on a summer afternoon with a dimestore toy. Steve, like Dad, was a city kid from faraway Detroit, and you might think he’d be bored by such amusements, but you’d be wrong.
I reminisced fondly about balsawood planes so often as my sisters were growing up that a hundred years later, when the whole family was gathered at Mary’s house in Utah, she provided a set for Dad and me to play with while the grownups made dinner. This year I visited Mary and Dennis at Christmas, and she gave me a brand new set, assuming correctly that the older ones had bitten the dust. I haven’t assembled the Sky Streaks yet. I think I might have to take them out to California and let Dad have one. We can see who manages to fly one the farthest.
Silly, the things that bind a family together. Not that I don’t appreciate the college tuition and the family trips and the dog stories, because I do. But somehow nothing makes my heart catch quite like the sight of a dimestore balsawood airplane.
Happy Fathers Day, Dad. Happy Fathers Day, Steve. Happy Fathers Day Eric. And Happy Fathers Day to every man who helps a child grow up blessed with good memories of silly things. Precious, silly things.