On Friday, I didn’t find much at the estate sale. The only things that caught my eye were the flags in pristine shape. When I held one up, someone behind me said they thought it was either the Australia or New Zealand flag. I put them back. Useful for props, but not at those prices.
Meanwhile, a family member became enamored of an ancient vise in the garage. He planned to return later with his tools to remove it.
Today was 50% off everything. Removing the vise took a lot longer than planned, so I looked around again. The flags were still there. An elderly gentleman was checking out all the smalls on the table next to me. When I asked a seller the price, he said $5 for each. That seemed very reasonable for very large fabric flags. The seller said one flag had to be New Zealand, what with the British flag in one corner and the stars. The old fellow spoke up, and said it was the Hawaii flag.
I admitted I didn’t know what the Hawaii flag looked like. In my mind I pictured something like the Hong Kong flag, a flower motif. I didn’t understand why it would feature the Union Jack. The gentleman looked around, found a packet of maps, and said, ‘Here’s a map of Hawaii, maybe there’s a flag on it.’
It wasn’t really that important, but he went to a lot of trouble spreading the map out. In his ongoing conversation with the seller, he said he knew the man who owned the house, and that he was 93 years old to the owner’s 95.
I paid for the flags, and went out to the car to wait. When the family member returned, he said none of the sellers bothered to help him, but finally a really old fellow came over and gave him assistance.
The flag in question turned out to be Australian. But thanks to a 93-year old, I now know that Britain once had political authority over Hawaii. I will probably think of him every time I pick up that flag.