My Mom and Dad would get into these arguments. I’m not remembering any specific subject. Nothing fantastic, just your normal married with children kind of stuff. But the thing I remember with much laughter is that they would always end up with the same hilarious banter.
Mom would say, “Well you can get your flag and your bag and you can get out, just like you came in here.” See this was my step-Dad and he came to live with us around 1965 when I was 9-years-old. We were all so in love with him. He was the most wonderful man and an awesome Father.
So then Daddy would say, “I’ll get my flag and my bag.”
And Mom would say, “Get your flag and your bag then.”
And Daddy would say, “I’m gonna get my flag and my bag.”
Mom, “Then go get it.”
Dad, “I’ma get it now.”
And this would go on for what seemed like an incredible amount of time for two people to be saying the same thing over and over. Just different variations on “get the flag and the bag”.
Well, I never knew what in the world they were talking about. That must be some kind of old person slang, I thought. This “flag and bag” scenario would come up even if they were having a “play” argument. You could bet money on it.
One day I was visiting from New York. It was the year after my sweet Dad has passed away. I happened to be going down into the basement and I glanced up in the little cubby hole space above the stairs as I was descending. What did I see back there, all quiet and dusty; but an old, large, brown well-worn leather suitcase. And what lay on top of that? A folded U.S. flag. I stopped in my tracks and shook my head with laughter.
“Mom!” I called out. “Who’s flag is this?”
“That’s your father’s,” she called back. It all came back to me.
Seems when Daddy came to live with us, all he brought with him from his own house across town was his brown suitcase and the flag that had been draped across his own father’s casket at his burial.
His flag and his bag. Hmmph, he left it.