At the Top of the Slope

Friday evening, i was late.

i have tried to stay with US flag regulations long after i completed my active duty service nigh 49 years ago. i raised the flag pole at the top of our slope in the early 1990s. i reread the flag regulations several times — the reason when the anthem is played, i take my hat off and hold in my left hand and put my hand over my heart, not putting my hat over my heart.

It was easy to raise the flag at 0800 and lower it at sunset in the beginning. My lab, Cass, liked going up to the top of the hill, check things out while i did my duty, and sometimes bolt down the hill for further adventures requiring me to follow in pursuit. Fun.

But Cass got old and left me, dammit. i got a light for the flag, allowing me to leave it flying at night, and only went up occasionally after that unless flag regulations required a lowering to half mast.

For the last several days, my flag at the top of the slope has been at half-mast. Dianne Feinstein died and the edict for lowering the flag ensued. It lasted until sunset on the day of her interment, which was Thursday. i had a long day concluding with a supper at the tapas restaurant. i did not have the energy or desire to two-block the flag up on the slope. i passed and played my Friday Morning Golf (FMG) followed by my Friday Afternoon Nap (FAN).

So around six in the evening, i climbed the railroad tie steps up the slope, stepped over the gopher pile of dirt, ascended to the flag pole, placed my two small cloth bags on the small metal table, and dutifully two-blocked the flag.

But i was not done. The chair is one of a pair Sarah brought home from Austin. When she moved to Las Vegas, they remained and became view seats next to the flag pole. They are not used enough. The rusty table, also from Sarah, the one with the rocks on top, also has a blue tooth speaker, and most importantly, a unbreakable martini glass Sarah gave me. It is filled with a Cyril Vaughn Fraser “martin.”

i don’t come up here often enough, and i was dedicated to make this one special. As i raised the flag, i looked down on our backyard. i am a lucky man. Maureen’s touch is everywhere. The view eastward, including Mount Miguel isn’t too bad either.

i sit and look west toward my Pacific. It’s not there. The last two days, we’ve had a pretty puny Santa Ana. Low humidity and the temperature actually touched 90 for a little while. Looking west, it was evident the Santa Ana had broken for there, hovering and ready for an onslaught ashore was the marine layer, lying low and fluffy white, obscuring my Pacific.

i turned on “My” library on iTunes, and selected my “Narada” album of new guitar music. i peered out at the whiteness and beyond as the sun descended. i sipped my martin, ate an olive, listened to the music. i didn’t actually sigh, but i could feel my breathing up on this slope alone.

i hope your world is as good as mine.

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