Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Obi-Wan Tales Chapter VI: white flag


My friend and neighbor Obi-Wan grew up on a farm in Chilton, TX (right outside of Waco). Being a farm boy, he learned hard work since early childhood. And he had learned to be thankful for what he had since farm life went through seasons of plenty and seasons of lack.

I recently heard him tell a story that slaps the religious-ness out of the over-used, modern-day churchy word "community":

During a interview by Agent S (for a school paper), Obi-Wan told of how poor black people of the 1920-30s in rural Chilton, TX helped each other in time of need. When a family was low on resources, they'd put a white flag on their porch.

That's it.

Like a secret code, it somehow signaled to the other neighbors that the family with the flag was in need. And thus all the neighbors that had extra produce, meat, finances, whatever, would bring it over.

I mean...I'm speechless. What the hell has happened to us in the last 70-80 years? OK...we've got isolation devices like TV, computers, etc.

...and maybe pride.

6 comments:

miller said...

I mean...I'm speechless. What the hell has happened to us in the last 70-80 years? OK...we've got isolation devices like TV, computers, etc.

...and maybe pride.


that and we don't actually live next to our friends anymore... (note the heavy sarcasm)

Agent B said...

I'm just dumbfounded with this act.

Waving a white flag: a signal of surrender? or a signal for help among friends and family in a community?

I know this physical act of flag waving would be pointless and goofy in current society.

But there's times where I should have waved the white flag...surrendering greed, pride, selfishness. The list goes on...

I may be refering to the "white flag" on this blog from now on...

Deana said...

it is such an amazing story!

I can think of plenty of times in life when I could have used a white flag. Even now...I'd put out a white flag for a neighbor to come over and just chat...

Mike said...

bring back the white flag! and while we are at it i would like to instigate the yellow flag.

"Hey you are making the church look dumb!" (wistle blow, flag tossed high)

penalized five yards and you have to go back and re-read the catachism THE LONG VERSION!

(for you baptist insert SBC equiv)

agent Wife said...

Hillarious Mike, only I would probably have a whole case load of yellow flags, a bunch of yellows and probably way too little thanks for helping out with...

I'm starting to learn humility, accepting gifts, although I'm not too vocal about needs, except to the CEO whose hearing is perfectly good (He even hears and answers my unvoiced desires- He's that good).

My question is why am I so stingy? Can I blame it on the way we live these days? Personality? Societal status? What's the deal when a homeless guy wants to share his food with me and I see my junk as mine??? So backwards and un-CEO-like. I have a lot to learn. I think it would be easier for me to share if someone had a flag out, but would I do it sacrificially, do I now??? Not near enough IMHO.

g13 said...

dude, i think our society is really good at responding to the white flag. the really difficult thing is finding the humility to raise it.

pax.