The Frosty Flag

When I went out grocery shopping late Saturday night, I thought I could feel moisture in the air. In fact, When I came out of Sam’s, there was a fine mist on my windshield.

“This could turn into freezing drizzle and be really nasty,” I surmised. There was a state salt shaker prepping the intersection of William and I-55, so I wasn’t the only one concerned.

MODOT painted an ugly picture

My weather apps couldn’t make up their minds about heavy snow, light snow, no snow, etc. I saw a bunch of posts from truckers saying that north central MO highways were littered with wrecks, and a glance at the MODOT Traveler Information Map showed that almost everything but SE MO was painted as partially covered, totally covered or Don’t Even Think About It.

Facing a frosty flag

When ice finally did start forming, I debated taking a drive to see if it was worth shooting, but it didn’t look all that exciting, so I gave it a pass.

When I woke up this morning, I saw icicles hanging off the carport again. My all-weather, lighted flag had a strange look to it. It had gotten wet, then frozen overnight. It thawed out fine later in the day, but it looked odd for a few hours.

The closeup at the top of the page looks positively arty. You can click on the images to make them larger.


Have a Happy 4th of July

Jessica Cyders - MarySteinhoff 11-04-2013Mother doesn’t need a holiday to break out The Flag. Here she is with Curator Jessica on November 4, 2013.

With Robin and Mark

Robin Hirsch, Mary - Mark Steinhoff 10-17-2011Robin Hirsch and Mark, October 17, 2011

Graham and Adam

Graham - Adam Steinhoff in Cape 10-16-2011Grandson Adam and Great-Grandson Graham, October 16, 2011.

Tulsa Branch

Tulsa Branch celebrates Mary Welch's Early Birthday SeasonAmy, David and Diane July 21, 2013.

Florida Grands and Greats

Steinhoff family Cape 08-09-2013Mother with Matt, Elliot, Carly, Adam, Graham, Malcolm and Sarah, the Florida Steinhoffs, on August 9, 2013.

Mother and Flat Stanley

Mary Steinhoff with Malcom's Flat Stanley 11-01-2011_7092Mother and Malcolm’s Flat Stanley for a school project November 1, 2011.




Emblem of freedom

This 1942 lithograph, Emblem of Freedom, hung on the wall of my grandfather’s liquor store in the Prather Building in Advance. I was always fascinated by the perspective.

I lost track of what I had done with it. It was over the mantle in our living room for a long time, but we shuffled other images up there over the years.

When I was packing for my trip back to Cape Friday morning, I looked in the back of our guest room closet for some stuff I had stashed there. It was behind some framed collections of old press passes.

Not visible in 1946

The flag picture isn’t visible in this 1946 photo of Roy Welch’s store. That’s Mother and Grandmother Elsie Welch in the photo.

The store had been rearranged by the time I was old enough drive my toy tractor round and round the floor, looping through the small store room in the back left. In the winter, some of the regulars would cluster around the old stove visible toward the back right.

I remember the counters being on the north or right wall. The shelves with the bottles were on the left wall.

In background in Spin City

A copy of the flag picture showed up frequently in the background of a TV situation comedy. I’m pretty sure it was Spin City, starring Michael J. Fox. It got so I would look for it as the camera panned the room.

Our Pearl Harbor

It was our generation’s Pearl Harbor. I wasn’t going to write about it because everybody else in the world is going to do “where I was stories.” To get THAT out of the way, I was in Cape. Mother said something about a building on fire in New York. I looked at the TV and thought, just like I had when I first saw the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City in flames on April 19, 1995, that it was a gas explosion. Soon, in both cases, we discovered a darker reason for the flames: terrorism.

The scramble to get home

I called Wife Lila in West Palm Beach and we shared our fears.

I hurried to a Cape gas station to fill up for a quick trip back to Florida. I wasn’t sure if gas was going to be available – or how much it was going to cost – for the return.

On the way south, I drove under an overpass near Nashville that had a massive American Flag hanging from it. I’ve never seen so many flags flying. I also noticed that drivers were more polite – they’d give you a wave to let you know it was OK to pull out and you’d acknowledge it in kind.

Where was the shared sacrifice?

Of course, that only lasted for a short while. Instead of experiencing the shared sacrifices of World War II, we were told to go shopping. Instead of cutting back on energy consumption, we demonstrated our patriotism by hanging “Support our Troops” magnetic ribbons on the back of gas-guzzling SUVs. Instead of drafting a cross-section of American society, putting everybody at risk, we had a volunteer army that meant it was unlikely that you had any literal skin in the game. Politicians like Rudy Giuliani whose sentences, according to Joe Biden, consist of “a noun, a verb, and 9/11” wrapped themselves in the flag and rushed us into two wars for dubious reasons.

Osama Bin Laden, for the price of 19 airline tickets, managed to cripple our economy and made us give up freedoms and privacy. Mission accomplished.

Flags still thrill me

Still, as I travel across this great land, I’m still thrilled to see our Flag flying. These were taken at the North County Park, Overbey Farms outside Murray, Ky., the Jackson City Hall and a florist in Gastonia, NC. These are AMERICAN flags. They don’t belong to politicians and political parties and they should be used to unite, not divide us.