Over the holidays I went to Georgia to look after my mom's financial and health affairs, and my Georgia cousins graciously gave me a guest room to stay in and a pickup truck to drive, but the latter turned out to be just a bit problematic. Cousin Roy acquired the truck at auction and thinks it previously belonged to a drug dealer, which explains the rather heavily tinted windows. I'm not a heavily tinted vehicle window person. On top of that, the front license plate holder (Georgia doesn't require front license plates, so people put on whatever they please) has a plate emblazoned with the 1956 Georgia flag. That flag incorporates the Confederate battle flag. And my cousin had a FOR SALE sign in the front window. So I - an emphatic liberal - was driving something that suggested a very different kind of driver. I visited Trinity Episcopal Church for a Sunday service. A pedestrian parishioner seemed delighted to see me pulling into the parking lot. I must have looked like a potential convert on the hoof.
The pickup truck itself was fine. It's a small one with decent acceleration and great visibility fore and aft. It was fun to drive. I began to understand why my writer friend Pauline Baird Jones loves her cute little white pickup truck. (Friends who have large items to move love her truck too!)
The little green truck's radio worked quite well. My cousin may have been startled to find it tuned off his favorite country station and onto Georgia Public Radio. When I took my mom to her hair stylist, she hopped right in. Mom suffers from Alzheimer's and some coordination difficulties, but the little green truck has a handy grab handle on the passenger side. Mom likes it when Roy takes her places in it. Long story short, the truck was good, the truck wearing a Confederate flag not so much. Nobody visibly bristled at me, but still.
Some white Southerners cite the Confederate flag as a kind of ancestral icon. Maybe so and maybe no. It might be one thing to honor your ancestors' flag in the privacy of your home, but it's another thing to flash it on Southern streets. I was interested to see if it turned up anywhere besides on the front bumper of the little green pickup truck. It did. When I took an afternoon walk in the park, the winter day had a clear stillness, like the surface of the park's lake, a reflective calm - except in the one area: the vicinity of two young white men in a mud-crusted pickup truck flying a Confederate flag and blaring country music.
Said flag is in the middle of the photo.