Crumbs From the Corner: Adventures in Woolgathering

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Planting the Flag

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

As a rule I avoid the divisive nature of flags. In our rural area in Ireland an annual sporting event takes place which involves all our neighbours hoisting the community flag outside their respective houses. Although I was always aware of the occasion, I abstained from such actions mostly from apathy. I simply did not care.
One particular year, however, I was quite drawn in against my wishes amid assurances from all and sundry that our local team might actually win. I was sixteen at the time. Giving in, I raced- for there was little time to waste- up a ladder to the attic to fetch that particular flag with the intention of quickly positioning it at the front of our home. I do not now recall why exactly we even owned the flag; perhaps it was a school-related project but nevertheless we did have one and I grabbed it from its dusty place, shook it off, and raced again down the ladder. I missed the third last step and fell gracelessly to the bottom. My ankle went sideways and I landed just as I was. In despair and in pain, I anyhow hobbled outside to plant the flag before withering into an armchair and remaining there for a very long time.
The ankle hurt me terribly. More than a decade later it hurts me yet.
The local team did not win.
I avoid flags when I can. They divide communities and they cause dreadful accidents.

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