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Thursday, January 24, 2008

An Americana moment

It was a a tiny thing, but a serendipitous moment, this morning happening on the 5:30 a.m. walk with Marilyn Light and Annette Horton.

As we turned the corner onto Poleman Road, the red lights were flashing on the school bus ... as it does most mornings ... on the grounds of North Highland Elementary School.

The bus was heating up as the driver waited for all the cars to arrive with her passengers.

But, this morning was different.

As we approached the school, a man ... teacher? maintenance person? parent? ... was about to post the American flag on the tall pole in front of the school. In all our walks, we had never seen him before.

Something about the meticulous and respectful way he was readying the flag on the rope, made us stop.

And, salute as he worked. We stood there, Marilyn and Annette with their arms across their chests, hand on their hearts. I military saluted, with my right hand at the tip of my forehead.

It took him a few minutes to get the ropes untangled and the flag straight before he pulled it to the top of the pole.
When he stepped back, we applauded. Again and again.

The man never heard us. ( We were several feet away from him on the street and the pole was near the bus and its motor was running. Or, perhaps he had the flag and what it means to all of us on his mind, but he just did not respond to us.)

He finished this special duty which he performed very seriously ... similar to many others being undertaken across the land as the day begins and flags are brought out ... and strode away.

We continued our walk east towards home.

Maybe the ceremony would have been insignificent to some.

To us, who find little things happening in the neighborhood noteworthy, it was a mighty, memorable moment on the grounds of the school in the middle of North Highlands.


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