An unusual sight greets us every time we turn onto the new street where we hope to live soon. These days, when we go to Glen Sutton in southern Quebec, it is to reconnoitre what will one day be our new home: where will we put the sconces? Which way will the couch face? What colour will the kitchen island’s counter be? Discussions like this can go on forever and they often lead, from day to day, to different solutions. It’s an exciting, creative process but exhausting as well as you search for the “perfect” combination of colour and material and furniture for any given spot in the new dwelling.
On the corner of the dead end where we will soon live, something we pass every time we go, and not too far from the very modest place which will be our new abode, is a very sizeable house with a great veranda in front. On the lawn is an enormous flagpole with a sparkling new Canadian flag.
Right by our new house rushes a brook. In the distance beyond the brook one can spot something bright between the leafless branches of the tree. There it is; oh, it’s another Canadian flag.
This is something which is rather rare in Quebec. Canadian flags can be seen in front of Wal-Marts along with Quebec flags, and they are not often in the best of shape, but in certain areas of the Eastern Townships live proud Canadians and all I can say is: “All power to you”.
What is much more common, and something that I see every time I drive to Montreal, are torn and ragged flags looking as if they’ve just survived an intense wartime battle. People’s home might be looking fine, or the restaurant as well, but when it comes to keeping the flag on the flagpole in good condition, well, that’s another story.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the Quebec flag or the Canadian flag. There are plenty of both to be seen in ragged, washed-out and torn condition. Sometimes, the only thing visible is a little band of blue flapping in the wind to remind you that once upon a time a flag flew proudly there.
Er, friends, this is the symbol of your country that you’re flying there… Couldn’t you show a little more… pride?
For every flag in mint condition there are ten looking as if they’d like to give up the ghost, if only someone were compassionate enough to put them out of their misery.
Now, I’m not a super patriotic person. Actually, my complaint, if that’s what it is, has to do more with being ‘neat and clean’. I might have similar observations if people let the paint rot away on the outsides of their houses (I know, I know, everyone has aluminum siding). But a flag is something more than any other ‘item’. It’s a symbol. It says something. So what would a tattered rag of a flag say about your feelings about Quebec or Canada? Er, “My country’s falling apart, and I don’t mind”?