6.18.2009

Mr. Hubbard

knock knock
who's there?
old lady
old lady who?

I did not know you could yodel


when I was a young boy growing up in a very different Bethesda in a very different world there was a period of my life were I was into kite flying
not so much kite building
just kite flying
I flew an assortment of cheap dime store kites bought at Bruce's Variety or People's Drugs
none of that fancy cloth two line beach kite thing
just the sort of kite that you find at the drug store or the five and dime

some kites flew better than others
I owned an assortment of shapes and sizes produced by a variety of companies
the Gala Bat Kite was one of my favorites

the kite flying season is a short windy season in early spring
one early spring I made a habit of heading up to a local park with some wide open spaces between the trees that was pretty good for flying kites
during this time I became friends with an old man named Mr. Hubbard

at first we flew our kites in different parts of the park
the progression was more than likely slow
like how the fox and the boy became friends in the book the the little prince

there was no formal meeting time
we just met in the park to fly our kites
I can not recall how frequent my kite flying could have been
but it was frequent enough that we got to be friends and that I got to know this old man and some of his tricks

one of Mr Hubbard's tricks was to build a pin wheel with some paper and a US Government Pen

loop the string through several of these home made pin wheels before attaching the string to the kite
then send up the kite
when the kite is at a good height... soaring stable high in the sky
one by one send the pin wheels chasing up the string all the way up to the kite itself

it was a niffy little trick taught to me by an nice old man

I out grew my passion for kite flying but never forgot Mr Hubbard
in my years as I traveled the streets of Bethesda I would see Mr. Hubbard and give him a yell
much of our interaction was walking the train tracks
the same train tracks where the Capital Crescent Trail is today
we would walk these tracks that were still used by a regular but infrequent train would pass

for years... each time I yelled a happy hearty hello to Mr. Hubbard he would turn back wave and yodel
yes... yodel
it was a greeting that always gave me great joy
it gives me great joy just thinking about Mr Hubbard now
my guess... this old man died some years ago
the apartment where he lived was converted into condos...
not sure where he went or what happened to him

there was some hesitation
there was some fear
here was this old man
all the warnings of parents and teachers had me worried about how close I could get to this old man
was this old may going to abduct me?
one time I went to his home and met his wife... I took half a step into his apartment and felt the hesitation that I had walked into a trap
my anxiety was visible...
were they going to abduct me?
of course not...

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