Flag and Fever: The Rest of the Story

Relieved on two fronts — but only somewhat

It took a long time to restore the Stars and Stripes to the flagpole in our driveway, after the wind captured and snared the far end of its tattered predecessor to create something that looked like a symbol of anarchy, hanging twisted and partly upside down.

My husband first tried to tear it loose by yanking on the cord, but it was too tightly caught in the finial at the top. Then, one Saturday morning, he asked for my help.

He had driven our little RV around and parked it adjacent to the flagpole. First, he duct-taped together two long poles, and attached a knife to one end. Using the ladder at the back of the camper, he climbed to the roof and asked me to hand the pole up to him.

Not surprisingly, it wobbled wildly. He could not get it in position near the finial, much less create the pressure at the top necessary to cut the flag free.

Next, I helped him to lift a stepladder to the top of the camper, and then climbed up there myself. He put the ladder in position, grabbed the long pole, and put his foot on the first step of the ladder. I grabbed the uprights of the stepladder and braced my legs.

In decades of marriage, you learn some things you should not say to your husband. Instead I began to pray. Fervently.

Then he stood back. “You know,” he said. “This is insane.” I breathed out.

Back in the house, he identified someone in town who could bring out a cherry-picker to solve the problem. He couldn’t make it before Tuesday.

I was relieved, but only somewhat. Friends back East were remarking that they are so upset with current events that they just wanted to leave the country — and they didn’t mean “leave for the country” as we have.

In this political climate, displaying a distorted flag even inadvertently made me very uncomfortable.

The next day, we took a long hike up Bonneville Pass with some friends. What a splendid way to escape the heat (in more senses than the obvious one).

The wild flowers were a riot of red and yellow. There were still patches of snow here and there. As we reached the valley at the top of the Pass, quite a wind kicked up.

Pulling into the driveway, I saw to my relief that the same wind had ripped the end of the old flag loose and it was flapping free, albeit raggedly. That’s kind of the way I feel myself these days. The old flag will go to rest at the VFW, where they take proper care of them. Call me Pollyanna, but the clean new flag looks like a symbol of hope.

On another front, for regular readers I should set the record straight about my brush with high fever and exhaustion, which I assumed were a sign of Covid-19 infection, until the tests came back negative.

“Could you have been bitten by a tick or another little critter?” commented a former coworker from Connecticut. I asked to be tested for tick-borne diseases, and the results came back strongly positive for Lyme disease.

Ixodes pacificus, the kind of deer tick that
spreads Lyme disease out West.

Earlier this spring, I shed plenty of ticks after hiking. I never noticed a bite or the tell-tale bullseye rash that is the classic sign of Lyme disease. But while being very vigilant about the pandemic, it looks like I was too careless about something else.

Isn’t that a creepy critter?

How ironic! After working and spending weekends in Connecticut for years, Lyme got me in Wyoming.

Unlike Covid-19, at least there is a good treatment for this. Although my “flirtation” with Coronavirus delayed treatment somewhat, thanks to my friend Natalie I got it soon enough to avoid major consequences, and now I feel fine.

Except whenever I read the news.

© Lois Wingerson, 2020

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Author: LivingDubois

I am a retired science journalist, devoted to enjoying and recording the many pleasures of life in the Wyoming's Upper Wind River Valley.

2 thoughts on “Flag and Fever: The Rest of the Story”

  1. Loved your story this morning. I can just visualize your attempts to rescue our flag. Sounds like some of our attempts to solve a problem, that in hindsight I can’t believe we did.
    We also have a battered flag our son rescued from a jeep stuck high in a tree in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. We fly it proudly knowing it has a proud history. Someday we will also retire it, but I can relate to its history and condition on my feelings and our current World condition.
    I am glad you don’t have Covid19, but sorry you met up with Lyme! I hope the recovery therapy works quickly and thoroughly.
    Enjoy your solace in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

    Your friend,
    Linda Apodaca

  2. We too have a flag pole, it , the flag is freighted……..yup go to new ones. well, o u r pole is a makeshift one as well. we have to stand up in the back of the pickup…..to hang it…..Our son, Kansas son, was here i thought it would be great for him to help his dad hang it ONLY thing is that day here in Alma KS it was 104*. so the dead flag and the new flag are still by his desk. nothing out by the rode. Love your stories…..this COVID isnt anything i wish to have so i do wear a mask….when i go to dollar general, and quick shop here in this town of 800 population. i wear it to eat, takeoff eat. put back on. I won’t watch the news anymore…..depressing. have a great week. and keep those letters coming. we use yellow sulfur on our pants shoes to keep ticks off us…..its a yellow powder you have to get thru Walmart. i put it in a sock……..and he can beat h ihs jeans or boots with the stuff……dont eat it. wash your hands. and good luck……julie in KS

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