I just knew March 28 was going to be a sad day. It was the day the legion of friends of Larry Mixon were to meet in Long Beach, at Belmont Shore to say good-bye to him. The day turned out to be lovely though, and when we got there it was so nice to see all of Larry’s beautiful kites up there bobbing in the breeze. “Pete the Dragon”, the kite that Ron Despojado insists on referring to as the “Pissed Off Possum” was there.
Larry’s “King of Hearts” and “Minnie Mouse” playing card Edo kites were there as well as his nice black Kimono and Rokkaku. I could see them putting that cool wristwatch noodle and his monster red black and white double Conyne together on the beach, and Larrry’s fantastic Totem Pole and “Pumpkin” delta were looking good. Man, that guy made some nice kites!
The tragedy of losing such a young man as Larry (he was only 46) is that he was just hitting his stride as a kitemaker. What wonderful new designs he must have had in him that now will never be made. His going has left a great big emptiness in the whole kite world. But then, as Ron Despojado said in his fine eulogy, “Larry is busy now teaching the angels how to make kites. We already see their efforts in the blue and white ones they make for the day sky and the multicolored ones they make for the sunsets.” Ron also informed us that Larry has had to cut slits into all of his kite shirts so his wings can fit through. What a mental picture I got with that one!
Even though Ron couldn’t be there in person, his recorded eulogy was very Larry and very moving. Ron had to be in Phoenix, Az. for a festival and could not be in two places at once, but I understand his recording was played there also to a very teary crowd. I gotta hand it to Ron, he can really step up to the plate when the occasion calls for it. Even Larry’s “King of Hearts”, which had been flying solidly all day, suddenly turned and came down to lie on the sand where it could hear all that was being said about him. Very spooky.
The nicest part of the memorial came when everyone held hands in a big circle encompassing Linda and her children and grandson while a flock of pure white pigeons was set free in our midst. No one could have been untouched by the sight of those birds spiraling higher and higher into the sky. That truly was a beautiful moment and I know Larry was there and enjoyed it tremendously.
I had expected this day to be a sad one, but we all know there can not be a gathering of kite lovers that can stay serious for long. Sure enough, that day was no exception. Stories of some of Larry’s more entertaining exploits were passed around and fun times from the past were remembered. Even Linda came in for a little gentle teasing as my brother Brian repeatedly invited her to bring Larry’s kites up for the San Ramon Wind & Art Festival in May. After all, Larry had already done all the hard work to get the invitation way back at AVI. He was sooo nice to Brian there, opening doors for him, feeding him his crackers and cheese, wiping the crumbs from his chin, buttering his bread, and even leaving a brownie on his pillow at night! Linda couldn’t very well let all Larry’ s brown er ground work go for naught could she? Finally she promised to come and I’m so glad we will all have another chance to see Larry’s kites flying proudly. I know we’ll always miss Larry, but as long as we can see those parts of him up there in the wind, he’ll never truly be gone.
Thank you Neil Tuthill, and Chrystal and Paul Eshelman for putting on a lovely memorial fly for Larry. I’m so glad we made the trek down to be there.