Monday, January 19, 2009

Little Pink Houses

I bought my house seven years ago - a tiny 1930's cottage painted three completely random, terribly unattractive, shades of green with mustard yellow trim. My neighborhood was undergoing a bit of revitalization when I moved in and many of the houses on my street were under the process of renovation and/or restoration and it usually involved painting the outside - or at least the shutters - a bright and cheerful color. The house across from me is red. One down the street is mint green, and one further down is terracotta. I think maybe the intention of the previous owner was to paint mine a bright and cheerful color when he was getting it ready to sell, but he missed the mark. In his defense, he was a heterosexual male (we all know they shouldn't be allowed to make decisions when it comes to paint or fabric) and, well, he was also a slumlord trying to unload some property and probably didn't give a rat's ass what colors he slapped on it just as long as it didn't look quite so much like a crack or meth house when he was done.

Needless to say, when I had gathered the funds I had it painted. Choosing a color was a bit challenging, but I eventually picked a dark indigo blue. As paint often does, it dried much lighter than that. It took a little getting used to, but now I love it. It is the little blueberry cottage and stands out nicely from behind the two big maple trees in the front yard.

What is my point with all of this, you ask. Well, when it was all painted, I stood admiring it from the street and thought to myself how cute and quaint it would be come 4th of July, Memorial Day, etc. with an American flag (and come September with an orange and white checkerboard flag) hanging from the porch or mounted by the door. But, as I mentioned, I've owned my house for seven years - as in - I've lived in my house for almost the entire time George Bush has been in office. And what with all the chicanery around his getting into office, his deciding which countries to label as "evil," which people to label as "patriotic," and his continuous assault on our constitution, I haven't really been too keen on hanging a flag on my house.

You may be thinking right now that I am shameful. And you would be right. I was never not proud to be an American during these years - I just wasn't particularly proud of my country for quite a bit of these years. But that's not why I feel any shame. I don't think it's shameful to be angry - or disgusted at times - with your government or approximately half of your fellow citizenry. What I feel shame for is that during that time I allowed others to co-opt what it meant to be patriotic or to be an American. Just as I feel shame and guilt for allowing the religious right to co-opt what it means to be a Christian. I don't do my cause or represent my beliefs very well when I allow others to affect my actions in that way. I needed to just get over myself, but I didn't.

But no more. Today when the sun came up the blueberry cottage was appropriately attired.

And not because the candidate I voted for won the election. And not because of the color of his skin. But because for the first time since I was in grade school, I feel inspired by my government and by my country to be a better person.

I just hope that if any of our founding fathers and mothers glance down in this direction today they can overlook the current lack of landscaping and that my porch and it's roof could seriously use a good power washer.

(P.S. if you think I'm bad, my mother isn't putting her flag on her house until 12:01).

(P.P.S. yes, I just realized that I didn't hang it correctly - the blue should be on the left. I Google everything but apparently it never occurred to me to look up "how to hang a flag." I'll change it this afternoon.)


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I have a sudden urge to hug your mother. And you. Group hug!
And your blueberry cottage is adorable!

Gert's Maw said...

Hugs are the order of the day. Wish you lived closer so you could come to our celebration. We are expecting about 50 folks and you would be so welcomed! Peace.