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Our neighborhood down in the poles

May 15, 2010

The original denizens of our home put in place — very securely — many features we have spent eight years gradually removing, one of which was a 25-foot-high flagpole. The flagpole, the too-cute tree with the symmetrical lollipop-like blooms, and various shrubs placed out of mere horror vacui, were elements of the “inherited landscape” we found, frankly, a tad obnoxious. One of my neighbors also had an inherited flagpole in his yard, and he always flew a pig or some other obnoxicon-celebrating windsock. He extracted his flagpole a couple of weeks ahead of us, but his was not embedded in nearly as much concrete as our proficiently established pole. I doubt the Bennington Monument is, either.

The people down the road gave us a flag when we first moved in, reasoning that they had a flag and we had a flagpole. But their American flag was made in China, and the stripes that should have been blood red were an off shade of fire engine orange, and I would not fly the thing. So the pole, bare and rusty, its grommet clip rattling against it in the wind, outstood its usefulness.

Removing the flagpole was a feat of engineering and sheer brute force of the sort my husband delights to undertake. It wasn’t so difficult to loosen the bolt at the base and lower the pole to the ground. It wasn’t so difficult to cut the downed pole into disposable segments. But it took a few rounds and a couple of Saturdays to dig and pry the concrete-and-gravel chunk in which the base was embedded from our front yard. My husband hoisted the well-secured base from the ground with a comealong slung over a tripod he built.

Possible moral: It takes a lot of American know-how to get rid of a flagpole.

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