I was out front one morning, enjoying a gorgeous holiday weekend. While pointing in my general direction, Old Man Jack said to me from across the street, “Koji, she needs to come in at night.” My car was in between Jack and me. He loved my car…almost as much as his F4U Corsair.
Why would he tell me to put my Grabber Orange Mustang into the garage? He knows it’s parked outside 24/7 because the aggravating ex took away my garage space without saying a word.
“Say what, Jack?” asked I…
I was humbled shortly thereafter by this exceptional and aging WWII combat vet who went to war as a young boy.
Indeed, I had to park my supercharged, car show winning Grabber Orange Mustang at curbside 24/7. Blistering sun, rain, ashes from wildfires, toxic sea gull poop and dog pee on my chrome wheels, I tell ya. The sea gull poop was the worst: unless you got if off before the desert-like sun microwaved it, it would leave the vinyl graphics underneath stained. Crap.
But I had to park it outside on the street, as I mentioned, as my darned ex decided to secretly take over my man-cave just months before I got the Mustang GT.
If you thought Pearl Harbor was a sneak attack, the ex’s takeover of my man-cave was a blitzkrieg. Let’s just say it was a helluva shock to come home from work one day to find an illegal alien well on his way into putting up walls in the garage. She was building a “massage room”. Well, in the end, it was used for much more, unfortunately.
But back to Old Man Jack telling me that “she needs to come in at night”…
“Jack, I can’t put the car in the garage. You know that,” I said.
“No, not the car, you dumb shit. The flag!” he said with his boyish trademark grin and with great fondness.
“Huh? The flag?” I asked.
“Shit, didn’t they teach you anything in school? You gotta put a light on her if she’s staying out at night,” he said.
I then realized he had pointed to the flag behind me and not my car. Duh. I had put the red, white and blue out for the holidays as always and had simply left it out – and yes, for convenience. He must have seen it left out the night before. But then again, he must have been biting his tongue for years as I had left it out before.
As Popeye, the Sailor Man would say, “How embarrassinks.”
Well, Old Man Jack was right; there has to be a light shining on the flag at night. And yes, I had learned that exact flag etiquette as a youngster in school but just plain forgot with time. Heck, me and this other kid had the honor to take down the school’s flag at the end of the day on a regular basis then properly fold her up while in the 6th grade. I can still hear the clamps clanking on the metal flag pole as we lowered her.
Anyways, I had remembered that story with today being Memorial Day. I had the flag out in reverence to our fallen. I even caught the tail end of a flight of four WWII T-6 Texans just north of us in a missing man formation.
It is now dark outside and yes, I brought her in. Can’t upset Old Man Jack, you know.
But it ate my heart out to see it draped over his casket just about three years later.
Thanks for reading and revere our fallen.