From New York I looped back into northwest New Jersey.
Before getting into NYC I drove the coastline of New Jersey from Atlantic City all the way up to Staten Island. It’s a nice drive, and despite taking a few side street detours through Seaside Heights I did not see a single fist pumping Guido.
Must be early in the season.
During my second tour into New Jersey I traveled east to the The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (site / wiki). The visitor center wasn’t open for another few weeks, but at least I had the trails to myself.
Desperate to change out my flag before leaving the Garden State, I stopped in Pompton Lakes to inquire about the flag above a public library.
I was directed to the property managers at the community center down the road. The community center closed at 4:30, and it was 4:40 when I arrived. Attached to the same lobby as the community center was a police department which also flew a flag out front. They said that anything to do with that flag would have to be approved by the higher-ups. However, as luck would have it the policeman in charge said that he’d show me a fire station down the way that was in need of a new flag (the NJ flag is yellow and as a result it seems to fade quickly in direct weather).
The fire station was unoccupied, and when the policeman tried to lower their flag it somehow snagged on the pulley. By this time we had talked a bit, and he had become increasingly interested in my quest. He then resolved that the stubbornness of the fire station flag was a sign, and in actuality, the flag that flies over the Pompton Lakes Veteran Memorial is most fit to be the town’s threaded ambassador.
We made the exchange with great ceremony, and at this point my friend was adamant that he wanted a story in the local paper to be written for the occasion. I gave him my contact info, and we shook hands before parting.
This was all last Tuesday (4/27/15), and I haven’t heard from him since. He was a super nice guy, and I wanted to thank him again for his enthusiasm and encouragement, but I’m afraid I may not have the opportunity. Maybe he read my work and didn’t think it was completely tasteful. Maybe he stumbled on some damning piece of my record. Or maybe he simply lost my card.
All I have is speculation.