July 21, 2019

LOOKING for TREASURES

How do you feel as you prepare to do something out of the ordinary? Emotions can run amuck with anticipation, trepidation, speculation and a lot more.

Muncie Public Library hosted a signing event for our children’s book, The Kite Surprise. Our book portrays a kite festival at the beach where young Celia Belle is enchanted with what her brother, Ansel, does in the kite contest.

Story Book History: 1974, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, age 26, an amazing kite contest. My background was kite flying poverty and here I was witnessing this amazing sky filled with kites of all colors, shapes, sizes. When I came to Muncie in 1977, I rapidly heard of Ansel Toney, the kite master in Farmland.

Back to the library event: Hot weather, summertime, Saturday netted thin attendance. However we gained the greatest treasured experience when a couple walked through the doors and introduced themselves. Oren and Marge Toney — that’s right the son of the famous kite maker Ansel Toney, from Farmland, Indiana.

What a thrill when the Toneys came to the library! Oren offered tidbits of glances into the life of his father, the kite master: Interviewed by Charles Kuralt “On the Road” CBS TV show; his dad knew how to adjust and fix things; went to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.

His dad, in his mid-80s, took a 67 year old sewing machine (belonging to his wife) and learned to operate it, sewing different designed kites. Eventually the machine just wore out. The manufacturer contributed another sewing machine, but fixed the old one so Mr. Toney could have someone work with him. Oren noted that the manufacturer received a great deal of publicity from that gift.

Did Oren get kites from his dad? With a little smile and eyes twinkling, Oren reported he would go to the farm, do the work and ask for a kite in return. Dad would say “you can build one yourself” — apparently as a way to encourage the son to take up the hobby of dad. Not interested! However, wanting a kite, his wife Marge ordered a kite. When she picked it up and asked for an autograph, Ansel said “who to?” She replied to Oren; it was signed and given at no charge.

Oren continued with tales about French Military kites, Delta kites (which Ansel had a fondness for designing and flying), and the Eddy kite – the green frog kite in our book.

I was thankful that, over the years, I flew kites with my kids and grandchildren. Mostly we flew the Delta kites, those favored and popularized by Mr. Toney. These kites are easy to fly and as Oren remarked, “will stay up as long as there is wind.”

Ansel Toney loved flying kites “you are always looking up.” He was known for getting out the kite which was a sure signal for the kids to come around and enjoy the day. He considered the sky a playground, maybe his own personal one during flying.

Now think about YOUR next event, tomorrow or next week! Big or small, whatever it might be: Will you greet it with anticipation, trepidation, or speculation? We never know what’s around the corner to bring that enriching treasure of memory. Meeting Oren and Marge Toney is one of our inspiring treasures.

Remember: Always keep looking up and let your spirits soar — those gifts of life will find you if you are open to them.

Toney-Kuralt Video

See how to make the Eddy Kite

A Man and His Kite – Farmland IN

Information: The Kite Surprise

Thanks for reading. Keep the wind to your back, it’s a great stress reliever.

Bill