About three weeks ago, the Old Gringo was presented a very large Mexican flag, quite a nice one, not made in Red China, of a satin-like material, with excellent stitchwork and colour-fast colours and design (eagles and serpents and all of that), and measuring about 3.5 feet by 5.5 feet. It was presented by the local Telegrafos Station where we wire money at times. It was also presented by the Comite' Ejiditario of the Ejido de Francisco I. Madero. The station-chief of the Telegrafos facility in the Estacion de Santa Engracia was the deliverer of the flag and indicated that the Gringo Viejo was the person selected to receive the honour this time because of the works and examples he had set forth for the communities in the area.
It was all a bit humbling, but un-necessary. The article is relatively costly and must be treated with certain formal protocols.....which of course we follow. Heretofore, we would clothes-pin the Mexican and/or American colours on their appropriate days of celebration or recognition. Neither flag was particularly ostentatious, but they were always arrange with respect on a nice rope that we run on the inside of the the outside horizontal support for the manser of the corridor. Without any pride or humility we assert that it looks dignified, correct, respectful, and appropriate for the appropriate date. This particular flag has attached ties, and those must be used to secure the banner to its place. It cannot be pinned, nailed, glued, or taped into its place of display.
On the day of the 12th of December, we normally hang the flags of Texas, Mexico, and the United States to recognize that the presence of Saint Mary in her apparition at the Hill of Tepayac near Mexico City in 1531 is recognized as the Patroness of All the Americas.
Sometimes when the Old Gringo is grumpy he might even fly the Mexican tri-colour with the date "1824" in gold numbers on the white field. That was the flag that flew over the Alamo during the confrontation in San Antonio in 1836. The defenders at that place were actually fighting for the restoration of the Mexican Constitution of 1824 and the defeat of the famous hideous usurper Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana. Most Mexicans know the flag as a statement of stubborness and loyalty to principle....and the willingness to fight to the end for an abstract point. There are other times....usually on Bobbie Lee's birthday and/or Confederate Veterans' Memorial Day that we might fly the Confederate military flag....albeit a small one....in a discreet place on the same corridor.
We have had teachers bring their students to listen to my understanding of history and my explanation of the various flags and why they are posted on certain days. Perhaps to the consternation of my ejido, the Gringo Viejo will play the Mexican National Anthem at VERY HIGH volume on major Mexican national days (there's a bunch) at 06:oo during the morning's darkness. We have done it during the period of disorder, perhaps to our peril...but it was felt to be necessary so that the youngsters going to school (it starts early there) would know that there are certain things bigger than immediate gain.
Sometimes a person might think that he has become so eccentric as to be perfectly irrelevant. Perhaps it would be well should he be so. But then, along comes a flag that cost a couple of organisations the better part of 50 or 60 dollars, and then that person feels requited and a bit humble.
And that was my story for this hour.
El Gringo Viejo