Ray’s Flag

 

Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom.

Rabindranath Tagore

unpacking boxes

 

I got the opportunity to get some more of my stuff.  It’s pretty cool, I open up all the boxes and it’s like a celebration all over again!

Among my boxes, was my step-dad’s flag in a broken box and stained with cigarette smoke from a relationship gone.

 

I met Ray when I was about 11 or 12.  He not only accepted my mom and me into his home, but also his heart.  He loved us like I’ve never felt love from another being.  To him, I WAS his daughter.

 

USA Corps

 

Somehow managing to get into the Army before his 16th birthday spent his entire working life in the Military.  Ray was a Surveyor for the Army Corps of Engineers until he was medically forced to retire because of Emphysema.  He left this world in December of 1992.

The last time I saw him, my daughter was only 3 months old.  We took a trip to Marysville so my daughter could meet her grandfather for the first time……..

 

 

Pulling out this flag was like unleashing all the memories as they were yesterday; supporting me through my summer softball years in Junior High all the way to my College graduation and beyond. Through the worst years of a teens life; this man gave me his encouragement and love only that of a true Dad.

ray 2

I remember going to fine restaurants for dinner with he and my mom, and me ordering ravioli, no sauce with ketchup and saltine crackers.  I really knew how to live it up!  He never said a word; he would even order me a Shirley Temple so I could have a cocktail with my dinner too.

 

When I was about 20, a mom to my son and being too young to be married and starting a family; Ray would let me mow his yard and clean his house so I could earn some grocery money.  I didn’t have to earn it; he would’ve just given it to me.  But, I would insist, I had too much love and respect otherwise.

 

ray n me

My graduation from Lassen College,  my step dad drove over 3 hours to be with me and family as I received my Diploma.  He treated all of us to dinner and gifted me with a pearl necklace and matching earrings.  I still have one of the earrings, I will cherish forever.

 

fold flag

I completely opened the flag and carefully hand washed it in my tub.  Washing away the bad memories and making sure it doesn’t touch the floor and hanging it gingerly to dry.

 

flag

My son spent 4 years in the Navy.  I think it would be an honor if we both fold it back together and place it in its new home.

 

With Hugs and Hope

Diane

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