A girl and her kite: dismal sign of the times

From the _Rocky Mountain News_, Sunday, April 3, 1994  Op/Ed page
[Reprinted without permission-CH]

A girl and her kite: dismal sign of the times

I had to do a terrible thing last week.

The day was bright and warm and breezy, and I happened to 
notice a little girl from the apartment next door trying to fly 
a small kite made out of soda straws and aluminum foil. She was 
not doing well at it, since the kite was obviously improperly 
made and merely skated back and forth along the ground in the 

I remembered my kite-flying days of some 45 years ago, when I 
had designed and built some impressive and unusual kites, and I 
remembered the satisfying tug on the line as a kite soared in 
the blue.

I had the impulse to go and help, but then I suddenly 
remembered a recent article about how hard it was nowadays to 
find men to volunteer to help or council children because of 
the possibility of being accused of improper conduct with the 

Accusations are cheap, I thought to myself. And defense is 

I watched for another minute as she became more and more 
frustrated with the little kite, which probably would have 
flown well with some trimming and some advice. But I turned 
away and went back into my apartment. It was too bad, but I had 
to let her struggle with it by herself.

It was a terrible thing to have to do.

[Signed] Dick Valentine