Small town living is truly something special.
That’s what I came to realize (again) last week as I wrapped up a phone call with my daughter. Cause for the call was her twelfth birthday. It was her first birthday away from home, as she and her brother spend time with their father for a few weeks this summer.
Her birthday happens to be June 14, more commonly known as Flag Day. One of many holidays, which thanks to the Oakdale Lions Club our city streets become lined with old glory. I’ve always loved the Lions Flag Program.
Seeing the streets lined with American Flags gives me such a feeling of nostalgia and pride. As the world moves faster and the little things seem to slip past us, flag-lined streets remind me of such simplicity.
As I wrapped up my call with my daughter early Friday morning, she shared they would be doing a number of things for her birthday including going out to look for flags. Still early and not yet a full cup of coffee in me, I became puzzled by her statement. “Look for flags?” I questioned. She of course reminded me of the day and her curiosity if where dad lived they honored her day the same way.
While the calendars are all marked for “Flag Day” up until a few years ago, there was no one who could convince my daughter those flags were not put up for her. One of the many traditions we uphold on her birthday is an early trip to Starbuck’s for a Frappuccino to celebrate being one year older. This usually occurs right around the time a few Oakdale Lions are touring the street hanging from the back of a pick-up placing flags in the sidewalk.
I still remember the first time she got excited by this gesture when she was younger. Proclaiming from her booster seat how cool it was that the city put flags out in honor of her birthday. Not one to be a dream crusher and seeing no harm in the innocence of this thought, I let her think it.
About two years ago, her brother, whose birthday happens to be June 15 became the great dream crusher as he shared his knowledge of the holiday with her. In true sibling form, my daughter chose to ignore his confession and live in her glory of being celebrated by the city.
As I drove into town for work later that morning, I couldn’t help but not only beam at the sight of the flags, but also feel true gratitude for the Oakdale Lions. Driving through town, looking at all the flags, I wondered if they knew how valued this program is by our community.
There are a number of things which make this community special. Many of them can be shared by story, but aren’t actually tangible or visible unless you live here. Community support is something which immediately comes to mind.
The quaintness of our town is one such visible attribute visitors can’t help but notice, the Flag Program is another. There are a lot of wonderful things varying Services Clubs do for this town, but only one has become part of my daughter’s birthday celebration each year.
Thank you Oakdale Lions Club, your dedication to this program is appreciated by many. Not only does the program remind us of our freedoms, it encourages us to stand a little taller not just because we are proud of our country, but proud to be a member of this town – only in Oakdale.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.