It is no exaggeration to say that we can go months with no one coming to our door who isn’t either delivering something or a Jehovah’s Witness. We pause at the top of the hill to take in the view of the valley below.We are heading out to walk the dog when a car pulls down the drive. This is the place where, years ago, two little girls found an abandoned kitten. I’m certain I’ve told Wendy the story before, but I don’t mention it now. I’m trying to shake it off when I realize that happened over half a century ago. All these years, that moment has been frozen in time. He stands by his cruiser at the top of the drive holding the end of the abandoned razor blade between his thumb and forefinger. ” my spouse, Wendy, calls to me from the top of the drive. She’s wearing jeans, work boots, one of her many, old, marathon finisher t-shirts and holding a bright yellow de WALT drill. You really got it up there.” In our salvaged wood pile at the barn she found a sturdy, 12-foot one-by-one, planted it in the ground, and anchored it to our mailbox post. As each day goes by and I see those beautiful rainbow colors still dancing in the wind it makes me happier. Then, those flags were torn down and a couple of them were burned on the front lawn.We are doing winter clean up and I have no idea what she is up to. When I crest the hill and see what she’s done, it feels like the moment in “The Wizard of Oz” when the world goes from sepia to technicolor. ” Wendy asks, her eyes twinkling and a satisfied grin on her face. Now, high above our weather-worn, hand-painted mailbox, the rainbow flag flew, waving in the breeze, its happy colors bright in the sun. We’ve been together for 27 years, but this is the first time we’ve raised a flag. In response to that, one of those neighbors, Rebecca Bonesteel, started a Go Fund Me page to buy more rainbow Pride flags. On the scale of things that have been done to me because I am gay, this hardly even registers, but I’m starting to get angry. If this was meant to scare us into hiding, it backfired. On one street, a couple of weeks ago, a Pride flag was torn down and stolen. In our small town of Hudson, Wisconsin, in response to fear and hate, acts of bravery and kindness were growing.We bundle them up and take them down to meet the horses and feed them treats and for once I am warm enough.Wendy shows the girls how to hold the horse treats.
This school is located in the Eastern Cape province — the country’s poorest.As a matter of fact, she has a rather stunning smile I am seeing for the first time.She says, “I hate to disturb you, but we talked about it and if you’ve got enough can I have two flags?I just feel kind of numb and, I realize, a little disappointed.The girls let our crazy little dog lick their faces and squirm in their arms.Their mothers told them to put it back or bring it to us. Wendy says, “Maybe it was teenagers.” I nod and remember those boys in high school like it was yesterday. Their bodies twitching, bouncing on their toes, electric with energy – small, quick movements of torso, arms and fists – their voices loud and brash, laughing and bragging about how they “saw some old faggot,” followed him home, pushed in the door after him and trashed his apartment after they beat him unconscious. Those boys, if they are still alive, are now in their late sixties. Today, I am bundled up, but I just can’t keep the chill away. I am mesmerized by all the small pockets on his crisp brown vest and the day-glow yellow “SHERIFF” across his left breast pocket.