The Signal Flag

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is BEACON

This word makes me think of a short story I could write sometime. The main character will be a young man whose horse stumbles and tosses him, so here he is, following a faint prairie trail one bitterly cold evening. His eyes search the darkness for one glimmer of light, one hope of rescue. He’s very close to giving up and accepting the fate of freezing to death when he sees the far-off glow of a window. A homesteader’s cabin! Shelter and warmth — his only hope! but what kind of people live there? What fate awaits him when he gets there?

Yes, someday I’ll write that tale. 🙂

However, today I’m going to give you another quick story. I read this years ago in the 1972 Friendship Book of Francis Gay and am retelling here in my own words. This doesn’t involve a beacon — at least the rector never intended to display one…

Years ago the rector in a small English town took a notion that it’d make a nice touch for his church if they had a flag — something they could hoist for on special occasions. He shared his idea with his flock one Sunday morning and different ones nodded in agreement.

One elderly woman had a flash of recall: wasn’t there one around her house somewhere? She went home and rummaged through her attic, thinking she may have seen the flag in her father’s old trunk. Ah! Here it was.

She took it to the rector, who laid it out and studied it awhile. The design was nothing he’d ever seen before, but it had a unique, pleasing placement of colours. Sure, why not use it as their banner for special-occasions?

Calling a number of folks to come and see, he attached it to the rope and ran it up the flagpole. Folks nodded. It looked attractive enough…and would be a nice touch for the Feast of Saint Somebody a few weeks hence.

The rector decided to leave the flag up for the day and went in to tea. Early that evening someone knocked at the manse door; the rector opened it and saw a sailor standing there grinning.

“Excuse me, sir,” the sailor began, giving the rector a hearty salute. “I come to see if I could be of some help, seeing you have an emergency.”

The rector was startled. “Emergency? We have no emergency here that I know of.”

“But I’ve just read the signal flag on your church tower, sir. It’s saying that you are in great difficulties and urgently need a pilot.”

Reality of the Thing

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is PERCEPTION

soap-bubble-824565_640I have to think of a balloon, before and after. Or what appears to be a little “planet orbiting in space” and the spot of soap left behind when it hits another object.

One day here in the office I witnessed a very small but rather amusing incident involving my cat, Pookie. My husband had been going through old papers and I ran a large stack through our shredder, filling a black garbage bag full and tying it off, ready for recycling.

Awhile later Pookie was in the office, eyeing that large bag against the wall. Did he see something on the bag that seemed to be moving, or did he simply want to attack that black monster? A moment later he pounced, claws digging into the plastic.

As you know, a garbage bag of shredded paper is mostly air, right? Between the punctures, and his own weight, there he was, hanging onto the bag that was slowly deflating under him. He looked quite bemused for a moment. But the monster, once subdued, didn’t hold his interest for long.

How many fearful “monsters” don’t we perceive lurking in our pathway, yet they end up deflating like Pookie’s bag when we actually tackle them?

Freedom of Speech

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is ANNOYING, and this will be my response:

Dealing With Those Annoying Hecklers:

Man giving speech
“Before we open this discussion, I’d like to remind you that our committee firmly believes in freedom of speech. Everyone who shares our enlightened perspective on this topic will have a chance to express themselves freely. If anyone here doesn’t see the issues the way we do, transportation will be provided to a comfortable gulag in Siberia where dissenters shall be totally free to express their viewpoints.”