Matt had a thing for patriotism. He loved the Fourth of July and all the hoopla that comes with it. He loved those good old country songs that speak of being American. I don't know where exactly this came from, I never did inquire further, but this embedded patriotism made for some good memories.
The first one that comes to mind is our trip to the Black Hills, which is where we got married. He had this childlike excitement about seeing the monuments that idolize our nation. When we went to the 'light up the night' event at Mount Rushmore he video taped the whole thing. Not Evie and I - the movie and park ranger who spoke ... probably not one of our more exciting videos. On the way out of the park he stopped at the gift shop and insisted on purchasing three posters of the Presidential faces. I did my best to encourage him against it, thinking to myself that I could do without one of these posters framed in my home, let alone three. And for the record ... two of the three ended up hanging in our garage; one above his office door.
And then there was the singing. I'm not sure if it was by chance, or if he brought the CD on purpose, but we a copy of Lee Greenwood's God Bless The USA on the trip. Now this song had always been a favorite of Matt and I's, mostly because we knew all the words and could sing it whenever, no music needed. But on this trip he played it relentlessly. I remember poor Evelyn, only two at the time, begging us to stop the singing. We had so much fun with it though, it was inconceivable to stop. We took a road trip around the parks one day, and every time we would spot Rushmore in the background we would belt out the tune.
So for your listening pleasure ... God Bless The USA
The other most distinct memory of Matt and his patriotism was the American flag he constructed out of Christmas lights. I haven't the slightest clue how he came up with the idea, but the project started as a display for Memorial Day and wasn't ready until Independence Day. He used a green plastic garden fencing, and spent hours and hours weaving tiny Christmas lights around each edge. The end result was impressive, to say the least, but what a trip it was for all of us in getting there.
There wasn't just the construction that took attention to detail; there was the hanging, storing, and repairing that all beckoned for his attention each time a holiday came up with the need for it. It is hard to believe, but I can't seem to find a picture of that flag anywhere ... I will have to keep looking (*see below for update*:). The flag was truly a beautiful thing.
My dear friends who were kind enough to get a team (and that is what it took) over to tear down Christmas lights last spring have been 'storing' the flag for me. Since there is no way I could ever take care of this thing, and I'm thinking my friends don't want the responsibility either, I will sell it to the highest bidder ;)