What’s Missing Today

We talked at breakfast, arguing politics, healthcare, the economy. Dozens of people nursed coffees, poked their eggs, and gazed out the window at the water. Families waiting for a seat paced outside, while the hostess scribbled name after name. Kids ran between their parents’ legs, teen-agers smoked, uncles sighed, ailing mothers whimpered, bums curled in their sleeping bags, planes flew, birds begged, dogs emerged from the water trailing bubbles, neighbors nodded or avoided, tourists crumpled newspapers. And one old man, who lifted his cane to reverently unfurl the American flag that the wind had whipped tightly around its post, shook his head at all of us.


16 thoughts on “What’s Missing Today

  1. this man used to live under the bridge on Connecticut Ave in DC next to the National Zoo. he often tried to engage me in conversation. i was 19, so naive. sometimes i would let him engage me for 5-10mins at a time while walking home from the metro. i felt bad for him. he was a vietman vet with some sort of disability – a wooden leg, reconstructed knee – something.

  2. i don’t know what this means. why don’t i know what this means? it’s really good. but i don’t know what it means, at least based on the comments. i feel lame.

  3. Sorry girls!

    I overwrote this!

    Anyway. The Rock and I were having breakfast last Sunday, and there were tons of people about, and in the center of everything was the U.S. flag, which had been coiled around its pole from the wind.

    Anyway, an old man walking by took his cane and very proudly unwrapped the flag from its post. restoring it to its normal state, and I felt ashamed that we’d all walked past this ruined flag without thinking to do the same.

  4. Thank you for explaining. I was going to leave a comment yesterday, but nobody else had, so I fiddled with a few – felt stupid. Then quit. I was trying to figure out literally “what is missing?” from your description.

    Feeling better now…

    Nice post!

  5. All of that sits proudly under the same flag. To poke eggs or not. Debates. Economy. Children. Families. Those without families. And a lot of us take that flag and what it symbolizes for granted, much like none of you noticing it was all wrapped around the flagpole. But someone did. And as long as we have one person who’s aware, who recognizes the problem, and who’s willing to do something about it, we’re gonna be okay.

    Not overwritten at all, Deb. I got it. And I loved it.

  6. deb! i totally get it now! it’s like when we step over a piece of trash on the sidewalk and then some old woman, who can hardly bend, picks it up instead my 27 year old self. 27…hehe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.