When you drive on the same road a bunch like I do, you look for different things all the time. Right now, I drive about 70 miles a couple of times a week between Tulsa and Stillwater, Oklahoma, on Highway 51, which takes me from a city, through an industrial area, 2 small towns and rural areas to a university town. I like this road, where I can travel at a reasonable speed and think, better than the turnpike with trucks buzzing by as I zoom from place to place. It’s kind of my zen time.

Among the common things I see are American flags and I vowed to count them some day. Last week, on a very blustery day when the flags were flapping in the wind, I counted 53 flags on my drive, ones that I could see from the highway or the streets I was on. That’s a lot of flags, I think, considering there were a lot of miles of open area along the way.

There were flags in front of government buildings and schools, of course, along with flags in small towns.DSC_0008I had to turn off the road to get the full effect of this one with its little State of Liberty.IMG_0017In a university town, you get a lot of flags on one pole…DSC_0026I’ve lived through a lot of decades to see the flying of flags come and go in popularity. There were flags flown after World War II, flags burned during Viet Nam, flags everywhere after 9/11, times when it was fashionable to fly your flag and times when it was not so popular.

It seems right now that flags are in a middle period. We’re not wearing them as patterns on our clothes or jewelry or flying them at home so much unless it’s a holiday. Last week, I saw flags in front of industrial areas or businesses, which I guess proclaims they are proud to be doing business in this country. The winner, if there was a contest, was a cigarette shop in Stillwater with four flags flying in front. There were flags in front of fraternity houses at the university, sometimes two. Good for the boys!

The flags that touched me were the ones flying in front of modest to small homes along the way, especially the ones out in the country. I spotted one tucked back off along a rural road where it couldn’t possibly be to impress anyone. To me, these are the special flags. I pictured these families sending their sons and daughters off to the military or proclaiming that their family had always been proud of this country. I pictured them raising and lowering the flags each morning and evening (assuming that people still follow the flag rules) out in the country for their own special reasons. Pretty neat.

In an election year, you will see a lot of flags flown for sometimes self-serving reasons. I’m going to remember the flags I saw flying just because they wanted to fly them that day.

It reminds me of so much about our country that makes me proud.