Defending the flag
In my world there are two kinds of people, flag pullers and flag laggards. Me? I’m of the former with little patience or respect for the latter.
For those of you who are wondering what the hell I’m talking about, it’s very simple. Here in Michigan, and I suppose, other places where snow falls, it’s possible to pay a service a nominal fee to plow your driveway when enough snow falls…usually about two inches. Pay one fee and someone with a plow on the front of their pickup truck will come as many times as warranted during the season. It’s a sweet deal for you if it snows a lot and they have to plow you out several times. It’s just as sweet for the plow boys and girls if it’s a light winter since they get paid the same no matter what.
So what’s with the flag? Ah. Some time in November the plow service will stick a bunch of flags along the perimeter of your driveway to guide them when the snow piles up. It’s a sad time for all. When the snow plow flags sprout up in the sub, it’s a surer bet than the groundhog lousy weather can’t be far behind. They may be orange or red or green or some other bright color, but they really amount to a white flag of surrender to the coming onslaught of frigid temperatures, ice, sleet, and yes, snow. One can beat a cowardly retreat to Florida or Arizona or Aruba, but I choose to stand tall in my Sorel boots and defend the flag. There’s no more thrilling sound than the rumble of the plow truck as it magically appears without being summoned to push the demon snow into a drift at the end of the driveway so high one can climb it to dunk a basketball in the forlorn rim sullenly awaiting the change of seasons. I can return to my warm bed knowing I’m getting my money’s worth, but more than disappointed I now have no valid excuse to call in sick.
Eventually, the Earth’s trip around the sun takes us to spring and the white of winter gives way to green blades of grass and crocuses, offset by the bright snow plow flags that have done their duty with honor. It is time to show what one is made of. Pull the flags as a show of optimism and certainty we have seen our last blast of snow, or, be a flag laggard, timidly leaving them to wilt and rust and clash with spring’s welcome hues while you await for the sky, and flakes, to fall “one more time” even though the temperatures are high enough to melt them on contact. Flag laggards will leave them up way past Easter, perhaps hoping they will guide the bunny should their driveways suddenly be covered with a foot of snow leaving the kids to search for eggs in their boots and mufflers. Maybe those who celebrate Passover fear Elijah the Prophet will get bogged down in a drift and say “feh!” rather than knock on their doors.
No, I am a devoted flag puller, punctually yanking those damned flags out on the first day of spring as I silently mock the flag laggards all around me, but leave them neatly piled in my garage…just in case…winter suddenly decides to have..a banner year.