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Home Country 3-18-20
Kite Flying Days And First Names

Marjorie Pincus looked out the front window at her husband, Marvin, and smiled. No matter how old he gets, she thought, he’ll always be the boy I remember, riding his bicycle through this town so many years ago.

Marvin had stopped picking out the nut grass and was watching a small group of children across the street in the park. Two of them had kites, and the brisk wind of morning had them both up as high as string would allow. Soon, Marvin had ambled across the street and was standing behind the children, watching the taut dip in the string and listening to the rattle of the tight paper.

The first time Marvin Pincus flew a kite in this park, airplanes didn’t go very far or very fast. The other side of the moon was a mystery in those days, and no one really thought man would ever go there and back. Not really.

And here these kids are, flying their kites the very same way, with the very same rag tails, and looking up at the earth-tied fliers climbing with the gusts and settling with the relaxation of the breezes.

Marjorie watched from across the street as the Herrera boy walked over to Marvin, whispering something as Marvin leaned down to hear, and then handed the stick with the kite string tied to it to the old man. His face beamed as he controlled flight once again. The kids smiled, too, probably not realizing kite flying was the same when Mr. Pincus was a kid, too.

But what about the dreams? Marjorie thought about this. What goes through the minds of today’s kite fliers who know what the surface of Mars looks like, who know what the far side of the moon looks like, who know there are human beings in a space station, living up there, right now? What will their dreams be as the kites dance?

What dreams will dance now as they stand there and hold the miracle of flight in their fingers?

On another topic, the problem was Mrs. Doc, you see. Oh, don’t misunderstand. She’s a perfectly wonderful lady and we all think the world of her, and as far as we know she has yet to burn down a house or start a war or anything.

The problem is, we don’t know her first name.

If you just come out and flat ask her, she’ll smile and say, “Well, don’t you think Mrs. Doc is a nice name? I’ve had it for a long time now.” But I guess there’s something deep inside us that hates a vacuum … a vacuum of knowledge, that is.

And so it is with Mrs. Doc. She introduced herself to all of us as Mrs. Doc, and … as wife of our local sawbones … she automatically deserves respect, even if that respect means maintaining a mystery.

But in a way, Mrs. Doc has added something tangible to our little society here in Home Country, because if we should ever falter for a subject of intense discussion, we have her first name to fall back on.

Doc’s a true pal, of course, but there’s no way he’d betray his missus on this. We did ask him one time if he actually knew her first name. He gave us the strangest look and said, “What do you think? I met this girl in college named Mrs. Doc and asked her to marry me?”

The speculation has run the gamut of everything from her having a first name meaning a poisonous flower, to body parts, battleships, national parks, and disastrous storms. If we did accidentally trip over her real name, neither she nor Doc would confirm it.


Brought to you by The Complete Cowboy Bucket List. See it at Slim Randles is a columnist from Albuquerque, New Mexico who can be reached by emailing