117 Main Street, the Alison Boylston Piazza House, a/k/a the Midnight Mermaid.
My neighbor Skip is an American flag etiquette expert, and I can always count on him to straighten me out if my flags are not hanging properly. When I hung my flag from the fascia board of the porch a couple of years ago, I knew that the American flag must be depicted in a particular way in a picture or a decal - with the field of stars on the left - but I somehow couldn't figure it out as it pertained to hanging it perpendicularly, and I did manage to hang it backwards, which Skip helpfully pointed out to me.
I had been wanting to get a proper flag, with a pole, for some time - to replace the one that was stolen a few summers ago - which I did recently. As I unfurled it and placed it into the bracket on the front of my porch I thought, well, at least I can't hang it backwards this time.
A couple of days went by before Skip stopped by my porch to tell me, "Nice flag, but it should be on the right hand side of the doorway as you go out." Darn - my new flag was on the right, going in.
No matter - I still had the new bracket in its package, so I climbed back up and installed it on the correct side.
When I was a camper at Camp Wintucket summer day camp - out on Wintucket Cove, and run by Joe and Betty Robichau - we were taught how to care for the flag, raising it up every morning and lowering it every evening - never, ever, allowing the flag to touch the ground, of course - as well as the proper folding: triangle over triangle, into a neat package, to be stored until the next day's raising. I do remember that being selected to participate in this rite was considered an honor and a privilege.
Because I don't have a light for my flag, I do have to set my flag out every morning and bring it in every night, which I thought might be a chore, both to remember to do and to do, but it turns out to be an activity I actually enjoy. First of all, it is now part of my daily routine; bookends on my day. I have also discovered that there's something transformational about taking care of the flag every day. Of course, the flag doesn't really need me to care for it, its being an inanimate object, but on a deeper level, the act of tending to the flag twice a day fosters a caring and respect - in me - that spills over into many other areas, including: love and respect of country, others, and self.
Have a happy and safe Fourth of July. See you at the parade, and if you see me with my camera, smile.
Camp Wintucket, 1948. My brother, John, is third from left (with his hand on the little sailboat). I wonder if that's Mary Waller, the only girl, with pig-tails.