1. The bridge into North East, Maryland. It might be a mild exaggeration, but it feels like various companies have been working on the bridge that provides the only direct access into “downtown” North East for about 87 years. The Romans built Hadrian’s Wall, spanning the width of Britain in about 14 years. The Empire State Building took one year and 45 days to build. But the state and the county and the original contractor who got his ass fired off the project and everyone else wants to cry the blues that it’s “only” taken five years so far to replace a fairly straightforward two lane bridge the crosses over a railroad track. What we have to show for that five years of effort is the northbound lane – and that hasn’t even been opened for traffic yet. When I’m out on the weekends and run into people, I often wonder how they function in the day-to-day world. I’m increasingly convinced that they actually don’t.
2. This is probably too much information, so if you’re feeling overly sensitive, it may be best to skip on to the third weekly annoyance. You see, recently at work I hurt my back standing up after taking a shit. It was showing marked improvement and I really thought it was well on the way to being serviceable again… but I know the inability straighten my back completely for those few minutes means it’s going to be twitchy for at least another week or two. That’s ok. It’s not like I have a list of spring yard work tasks that need to be accomplished anytime soon. It seems that this is your 40s.
3. I have a dream. I dreamt the lottery pool I participate in won the Cash For Life jackpot. I sprung up from that dream fully awake with the shit-eatingist of shit eating grins on my face. You can well imagine the disappointment on really waking up and realizing that a) the pool doesn’t play Cash for Life; b) It wasn’t even the correct night for the Cash for Life drawing and; c) it was all my brain’s little way of saying “fuck you very much.”
For the last couple of centuries companies that provide goods and services to the royal households of Europe were permitted to advertise themselves as Royal Warrant holders. Basically that means they get to slap a royal coat of arms on their letterhead and let everyone and their brother know that they are the official purveyor of some product to the sovereign. That probably ment more three centuries ago than it does today. As usual, though, that’s not really the point.
When I moved in here at Rental Casa de Jeff I inherited a US flag that had been flying from a bracket on the deck for God knows how long. It was faded, but serviceable and survived a hurricane and whatever other weather northeastern Maryland threw at it. After the most recent round of storms, though, the frayed ends graduated to full fledged tears and it was time to retire the old girl. This finally brings us to the point of the day’s post.
The Flag Shop in North East, Maryland occupies probably 100 square feet in the corner of a building at the southern end of Main Street. As far as I can tell they’re open mostly at random times and the only employee is the old guy who owns the place. After trying to sell me on the virtue of the 15-star, 15-stripe “War of 1812” flag, I picked up a more conventional 50-star variety. Let’s just say that the prices aren’t exactly competitive with Amazon. Still, there’s just something about the place that I like. It might have been that he reminded me that the VFW down the street would take my old, worn flag for proper disposal or that he knocked a buck off the price because I paid cash. I’m going to go ahead and proclaim The Flag Shop my official purveyor of flag and flag-related accessories, if for no other reason than I like having the option of walking into a place that’s not Walmart and buying a flag that wasn’t made in China.