We replaced our flag, it was torn, ripping at the seams, long rips between the white and the red fabric, the red and the blue faded by the sun. Our new flag is smaller, less prone to the vengeance of winds and tumult. Made in the US of A, our new flag cost about $20 with two-day delivery from Amazon. Everything is on Amazon.
We proudly raised our flag, as high as it would go. To be seen by our neighbors and, hopefully, to be appreciated.
My father came to the United States 90 years ago with only the promise of a job and nothing in his pockets. The land of “milk and honey” he said, as he reached out, worked hard, diligently, honestly for “the almighty dollar” as he would say. He was successful as a laborer, a businessman, a leader in our small community.
Our flag unfurled and raised is now in a “gray” world. A world that we no longer understand. What was, for us, the most vibrant of settings, the most envied of environments, the most promising for humanity. No longer comfortable, we are apprehensive now. Will the forces of oppression, oppression of all we have known for four generations, overwhelm the spirit, the faith, the trust, our way of life?
Will our country turn “gray?”
Like the “gray” we experienced in Russia 30 years ago. Leningrad became St. Petersburg weeks before our travels up the Volga to Moscow—a trip punctuated by scenarios of “gray.” We stopped at cities and towns and villages along the way to find “gray“ everywhere. The people faced uncertainty. The oppression of the Soviets was over but what was next. They traded with us—dollars for “gray” market rubles, double, triple the official exchange. The dollar market shelves were full of imported goods, colorful, desired. The shelves of the “gray” stores and groceries and butcher shops were nearly empty. “Gray” everywhere, the buildings, the people, the clothes. That is how it is when people are oppressed. Oh, there was color in Russia at that time. Certainly, the leaders lived in color with dachas and fruits. We bought a Matroska doll in vibrant colors, $40 American. But the lady could not take our money directly—there were surveillance cameras on the street market. She sent her young son to an adjacent store, meet us, take our money. We came back and she wrapped the doll for us and we left. We had to “trust” her in a “gray” world—oh we were apprehensive and it worked out.
But “gray,” that is how it is when people are oppressed.
We are gray now, old and gray, and we will be gone sooner than later. It won’t matter too much to us. This is our progeny’s world, they want it this way and maybe, just maybe, it will work out this time. We pray for them that our United States of America might not become another Russia or Venezuela or….
“Gray,” our flag unfurled and raised is now in a “gray” world.