The Symbol of the Nation

Tattered Flag 10-02-2020

Ripped apart, hanging by a thread

When I went out to the car this evening, I was shocked to see that the flag in front of the house was torn almost in half. I had planned to replace it because one corner had gotten snagged on rosebush thorns and was torn. I had no idea that it rip asunder like that. I knew we had gotten a little wind, but I didn’t think it was strong enough to do that.

I’ll replace it tomorrow if there are any left in town after all the Trump rallies.

I don’t want to belabor the point, but I’m afraid that flag is a symbol of this nation: ripped almost apart, and hanging on by a thread.

My First Grade Flag Drawing

When I was kindergarten age, my morning ritual was to eat breakfast, then head out to put out my tiny American Flag. In the evening or in bad weather, I’d bring it in. One night, we had been out for a drive and got back home after sunset. I was in tears because I had violated the Flag Code.

This first grade drawing is probably why my Art 101 prof at Ohio University said, “It’s a good thing you’re a photographer.” To be honest, the work I handed in to him wasn’t much improved.

Mother’s flag a focal point for “so long” pix

Robin Hirsch, Mother – Mark 10/17/2011

Mother had a Flag she put out almost every good day, and brought it in at night. It was used for many, many family backgrounds. We had two family traditions: we always tried to take a “so long” photo (Mother never said “goodbye, so we scratched it on her casket), and when we left the house to go on a trip, we’d give two toots on the horn.

My frozen Flag

Frozen flag 02-11-2018

When I bought the house after Mother died in 2015, I moved the flag holder to the front of the house, installed dusk to dawn lights and flew an all-weather flag 24/7.

I said that in these times when groups are wrapping themselves in the Flag, I wanted to demonstrate that it was MY Flag, too.

An ice storm in 2018 made it look almost like a painting.

 

Hair Apparent

When I got to thinking about it, I calculated that I hadn’t had a haircut since sometime in February. You can click on the photos to make them larger, but I’m not sure I’d encourage that.

It was already getting serious in May

I took this silhouette going down the basement staircase on May 14, 2020. I bought myself some time (I thought) by wearing a cap everywhere.

St. Louis Shari and Jim Stone

Ten years ago, high school friends Shari Stiver and Jim Stone came to Cape for an impromptu visit. They both returned to Cape last week, my first visitors since the lockdown this spring. Unfortunately, they missed each other by a day.

She was my first girlfriend. Like so many first romances, this one didn’t end well. I think you could use phrases like “crash and burn,” “down in flames” and “train wreck” to describe my reaction to the inevitable breakup. We spoke only when absolutely necessary for the rest of our high school careers and, not at all for the next 40 or so years.

Jim was the one who convinced me that I needed to escape Cape or I’d be a One-Shot Frony forever. I followed him to Ohio University my junior year.

“Can you use the round scissors?”

Shari, who I knew more for her cutting tongue than her tonsorial talents wanted to know why  I hadn’t gone for a haircut.

I explained that I hadn’t peeked in the window to check out my regular barber’s safety protocols, so I wasn’t taking any chances.

She claimed that she was an accomplished hair chopper, and her mother, LaFern Stiver, vouched for her.

Won over, I gave her the OK, but I preferred that she use the safe-to-run-with rounded-end scissors. She demanded that we go shopping for some scarier ones.

‘Taper, taper, taper’

With much trepidation, I allowed myself to be strapped into a chair in the living room, with a towel clipped around my neck. “Wife Lila always says I’m supposed to tell the barber, ‘Taper, taper, taper.’ I don’t know what that means, but I always say it.”

“I do, and I will,” Shari promised, as she started waving the scissors around, eventually causing enough hair to fall on the towel to knit a small kitten.

I hopped onto a Zoom session the other night, and Wife Lila, unprompted, said, “Nice haircut.” Nice to have her approval (or the image was fuzzy).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Sunsets in One Day

St. Louis Shari and her mother, LaFern, and I were headed down Highway 74 south of Cape when I suddenly whipped off to the side of the road with my four-way flashers blinking.

“What’s the matter?” LaFern asked, with some concern in her voice.

“Never mind,” replied Shari,  shaking her head. “That’s just what he does.”

I took 49 frames, but, as is so often the case, the first shot was the best. (You can click on it to make it larger.)

An unwelcome message

Moments later, my phone gave a chime, followed by a robot lady, who toned, “You have a text message from Lila Steinhoff.” There was a pause while she interpreted Lilaese, then, “I am just sick. Ginsberg died.”

“Crap” is all I could say.

We continued on down to Advance where the El Mexicano restaurant had more cars and people than I had ever seen before. We elected for carryout.

We killed time waiting for our order by driving around Advance, a town that was almost as dark as my mood.

Rose Bed Inn Fades Away

Rose Bed Inn demolition 09-13-2020

When I drove past 611 South Sprigg a few months ago, I thought the Rose Bed Inn Bed and Breakfast was looking a little ragged, nothing like when Wife Lila and I watched Laurie and Rocky Everett get married there on a cold October day in 2003.

Several folks tipped me off that the place was doomed, but I didn’t get there until September 13, when it was all over but the shouting.

Sarah Yenesel did a nice recap of the history  of the 110-year-old building in the Sept. 16, 2020, Southeast Missourian. I love it when someone else does that heavy lifting so I don’t have to.

The Rose Bed in 2003

Rose Bed Inn 10-18-2003

The B&B was attractive in 2003. The grounds were well-kept, and the interior was nicely furnished, a perfect venue for a wedding.

The Inn during happier times

Here’s a gallery of photos from the night Laurie and Rocky got married. Click on any photo to make it larger, then use the arrows on the right and left side to move through the images.

For the record, I’m sure Wife Lila took most of these photos. I shot presidents, a Pope and the Queen of England, but I never had enough nerve to tackle weddings.