Go fly a kite!

9 May 2024


I’m pretty sure that Lucy used to tell Charlie Brown to go fly a kite every once in a while in the old “Peanuts” comic strip, but (insert gasp of disbelief here) I’m not gonna check, because I’m too exhausted. 

Why? I’m glad you asked.

Although it hardly seems possible, That Dog Named Gidget just celebrated her first birthday, which brings with it a laundry list of thoughts and emotions better left at the door. Among them, however, was a reminder on the calendar that it was time to be a responsible dog dude, “do the right thing,” and have her spayed.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hesitant, but when Gidge and I paid a pre-op visit to Dr. Joe and his team in Rock Hill (www.catskillvetservices.com) they all did their best to calm my frazzled nerves, put her at ease, and at the end of the day, it all went off without a hitch. 

That said, I was a wreck the entire time she was at the clinic, and I couldn’t sit still, couldn’t concentrate and couldn’t (or wouldn’t) stop biting my nails. Once I brought her home, the challenge became keeping her calm, and protecting her incision from becoming infected. Doing that meant either the “cone of shame” or something I had never heard of—a “surgical onesie.” 

When I suggested that it sounded like a “great name for a punk rock band,” Dr. Joe just shook his head and suggested I order one. He also informed me that the dog could go to the 31st annual kite festival on the campus of SUNY Sullivan as long as I “kept her sedated and comfy in her stroller” (don’t judge!). 

“Sure,” he said, “go fly a kite, but don’t let the dog run around.” OK then.

While I had zero plans to actually fly a kite, I was thrilled to see that so many others were doing just that when Gidge and I pulled into the lot. I’ve always enjoyed the kite fest; the weather was ideal and although the dog was tranquilized, she was excited to see so many kids and adults who were somehow keeping the kites aloft without getting entangled.

“Wow, that’s a cool kite!” I shouted into the wind as I approached Kurtis Jones and a large purple showstopper that was about to take to the air. Jones is the mastermind behind the Wind Wolves Traveling Kite Show (dot org) out of Hackensack, NY. As he slowly let out more string and the kite became airborne, he kept one eye on it and one on the dog, while sharing some tidbits about the kite in question.

“This one’s called a Pyro, or Ghost Kite,” Kurtis said over his shoulder. “Actually, it’s a Delta, which is a three-sided kite that has tails sewn into it—so it’s a Delta with tails, but we call ‘em a Ghost Kite because if you get a white one it kinda looks like a ghost or spirit.”

“Wow, man,” I responded. “That’s not confusing at all.” Since I know virtually nothing about kites or flying them, I continued to ask questions as the Delta/Pyro/Ghost Kite rose slowly into the air, which was peppered with what looked like a hundred others swooping, diving and soaring overhead.

When asked if we weren’t experiencing a perfect day for flying, Jones hemmed and hawed momentarily. “Eh, kite flyers like me tend to be finicky. I usually fly at the beach, but when you come inland like this, it kinda comes and goes. It’s like surfing; you gotta wait for the perfect wind.”

Gidget was frustrated and wanting to run, jump and play, so we moved on lest she become too rambunctious. I marveled at the kites swaying delicately in the wind, dancing on air currents. 

I was momentarily swept away by the picturesque scene as kids laughed and played alongside their dogs—which had long since been spayed and neutered—frolicking at their heels. The image reminded me of a George Seurat painting, even though it isn’t 1884 and we aren’t in France, so I tried to capture it all on film with Seurat in mind. 

“You know,” I said to the dog while adjusting her onesie, “it’s like ‘Sunday in the Park with Gidget.’ I may not be French, but I’m kinda artsy-fartsy (IMHO) nonetheless.”

“What a great day, with so many people out here enjoying the kite festival,” enthused Bold Gold Media’s Paul Ciliberto, when I stumbled across him and his gang on the great lawn. “An event like this brings people out for a good time, but also amazing community organizations and businesses.” 

Always the spokesman, Ciliberto closed with “This is what it’s all about here in the Sullivan Catskills. We’re so happy to be here. It’s gorgeous out. And this is the only day,” he said with a wink, “that I don’t object when someone tells me to ‘go fly a kite.’”

As we were leaving, Gidge and I had the great good fortune to run into River Reporter fans Joan Marie Rohrs and her affable brother Greg Carmona, who flagged us down to say hi, meet the dog and share their enthusiasm for the paper. “She saves your columns,” Greg said, which not only made me blush but truly made my day. 

“It’s so nice to run into folks who like what we do,” I said to Joan Marie, who was gushing over the pup and squeezing my hand. “You see us,” she said. “Your sense of community spirit is infectious and we appreciate you.” Trust me, Joan Marie—I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. 

For more pics of the kite festival and my adorable dog, like us on Facebook and follow us on the Instagram. We’re the River Reporter. We’ve got you covered.

Fun Fact: “Sunday in the Park with George” is a 1984 Broadway show about the life of French impressionist George Seurat, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

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