This was originally written in response to earlier prompts, but I am now sharing it again in response to the Ragtag daily prompt for today: Flag
Here are the three words for 15 June 2018: Jolly Roger, guitar, iceberg
Flag Flying Fervour
Winston Pickle was a typical English gentleman. He tried his best not to be rude to people. He stood out of other people’s way on the street and always opened the door for a lady. He thought of himself as typical, but actually, he was a dying breed.
That day he opened a letter from his local council. As he read it, he could feel himself becoming overwhelmed with emotion.
Dear Mr Pickle,
I am sorry to have to write to you concerning your decision to fly a flag in your front garden. It is against our all-inclusive policy at the council to allow such flags to be flown and as such I must ask you, before it causes offence, to remove it forthwith.
Others who wished to fly flags have elected to fly a Pirate flag. You may consider this option.
Senior Council Secretary.
Winston was taken aback. The flag in question was the flag of his country, the one he was living in and he flew this flag out of a sense of national pride and patriotism. Young men, including his dear Father whom he never knew, died to defend that flag. He had a patriotic fervour, but like many like-minded people, he was not an extremist who went about being rude to people of different cultures. He didn’t want to start wars or invade anyone.
He just couldn’t understand the council’s attitude in this. They even suggested he fly the Jolly Roger, a flag flown by murderous criminals and that would be less offensive to people than his own flag!
Winston decided to speak to his neighbours and see how they felt about this. If any of them were offended by the flag he was flying, then he would take heed.
He started with his neighbours across the road, who had lived in the area the longest.
Mr and Mrs Khan were a very nice couple who had brought up four children in that house but all had moved out years ago. Like Winston, they were now retired.
They invited him in and offered him a cup of tea. Mrs Khan had made a lovely fruit cake which he devoured eagerly.
“So my old friend, what is it you wanted to ask me?” asked Mr Khan.
Winston showed him his letter. Mr Khan had to get out his reading glasses, he had a cataract in his right eye and was still waiting for his appointment with the NHS to remove it.
After he read it he looked at his neighbour of the past thirty years with sad eyes.
“I have heard this is happening a lot at the moment. It is so sad. Of course, your flag is not at all offensive to me. It is a flag. The fact that some nasty thugs decide to do horrible things while wearing it or spray it on walls with swastikas doesn’t discredit the flag. People love their country, I respect that. You have always been a good neighbour to us. I will write to the council and let them know you are a good man.”
Winston went to his other neighbours, ones that he didn’t know as well. They all listened to what he had to say and agreed with him that he should not be made to take down his flag.
In a way, this sad event had resulted in something really positive. Winston Pickle had gone round and met all his neighbours. He was surprised at how nice they all were. He felt slightly ashamed he hadn’t made more effort to get to know them earlier but then you’re never too old to make a change.
He was so happy at how kind and benevolent his neighbours had been to him, he decided to host a garden party and invite all the neighbours to it. His back garden was only a little courtyard but his front garden was huge. Big enough to have a marquis tent put up. He sent round invitations for a weekend in August.
The day of his party, he was making a salad with some of his homegrown tomatoes and some iceberg lettuce, when people started to arrive.
Mr and Mrs Khan had brought with them some pakora’s and pani puri that they had made and their son Sanjay had come along too. Sanjay was a musician and had brought his guitar with him.
As they were all sitting in the garden watching Sanjay playing the guitar and singing folk songs leaning against the flagpole, the postman came by and handed Winston a letter.
It was from the council again. It had been six weeks since the last letter.
It told him that due to the number of letters they had received concerning him and his flag, they have decided to revoke their original order. He could keep his flag flying.
Winston was overjoyed, looking at his neighbours he felt an overpowering love for all of them that went beyond mere fervour. They were family now.
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 15/June/2018