Monday, July 19, 2010

The Kite Unraveler

My faith in American youth is restored, at least temporarily! Maybe it helps to get out of New York City—although not that far out—and into small-town America. Driving near Hudson, New York with my sister and brother-in-law, we unavoidably ran over an abandoned kite in the middle of the road. Almost immediately thereafter we heard a very loud, gravelly scraping sound around
the rear wheels. Most fortunately, we were near a gas station/convenience store plaza and pulled into it. My brother-in-law got under the car to inspect the damage and discovered that the thin wire used in the kite's frame construction was tightly wound around the rear axle. Although at first he seemed able to unwind the wire himself, it proved stubborn. A couple of good samaritans emerged to kibbitz and gave various pieces of advice. The convenience store operator lent us a knife with which to cut the wire, but to no avail.

Then our savior materialized in the form of a fresh-faced youth, a total stranger, who, he said, was just returning from a wedding and was somewhat happily inebriated. He took off his jacket, slipped under the car, and, after several minutes of manly effort, managed to remove the wire. He emerged, smiling and none the worse for wear. We never learned his name, but he did tell us that he was a college student about to enter officer training school and the army. He seemed to take pleasure in just helping people. Must be almost the last of the breed. Or maybe not. My British brother-in-law, who slipped the youth some money, will get a good impression of us Yanks, at least for a while.