Part of the Mare Herd at the 4DH Ranch in Oklahoma. For More Works by Debra Coppinger Hill Click Image.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


If you turn off of Route 66 west of Vinita and head south on highway 69 and drive until you get to the Chouteau area, from quite a distance away you will see a flag. As you get closer you will notice that the flag sits on the top of a tall hill in the middle of a pasture on the east side of the road. In the daylight it is an inspiring sight with the red, white and dark blue set against a crystal blue Oklahoma sky. Lit at night it is a landmark in the middle of nowhere and a beacon waving against the darkness. Folks around here call it the Parker Flag.

So long ago I cannot clearly recall all the details my Dad told me how Mr. Parker owned a drilling company and a ranch and how he placed the flag on top of the hill at his ranch for folks to be able to see from a long way off. I asked him why Mr. Parker did that and Daddy said “Because he is a patriot and he loves America.”

In my life I have driven past the Parker Flag thousands of times; on my way to the lake, to go to my favorite bead shop and many, many times on my way home from places far away. Each time it comes into view (especially on those long, lonesome night drives) I know I am close to home and I hear my Dad’s voice repeating; “Because he is a patriot and he loves America.”

We passed it just this weekend and for the first time in my life I stopped and took several photos. When we got home I tried to look up some information on the Parker Flag. Other than as part of directions for some real estate for sale in the area, I found nothing. It is important enough to be a part of directions, but there is nothing to speak of when it comes to it being an attraction in the area. In an age where everything is on the internet I was surprised by the obvious lack of information.

While I was pondering this my pal Duffy called. He was wondering how we were fairing with the thunder storms that had been popping up and he needed a phone number. While I was looking through my phone book we chatted. When he asked what I was up to I told him I had been on the internet trying to find some information about the Parker Flag. I asked him why he thought I couldn’t find anything and he said, “Folks don’t do things like that for publicity.” I had to agree. Whereas I would love to have the whole story and share it with all of you, I will have to leave you with just those things I know from the memory of that drive with my Dad. I will also leave you with the last of my conversation with Duffy which pretty much summed it all up and left my Dad’s voice echoing in my heart.

I asked Duffy why he thought Mr. Parker had put the flag up there for the world to see. I heard him take a deep breath and then he said, “He probably had a very personal reason. I pretty much figure he did it because he loved America.”

In honor of Independence Day and in honor of Mr. Parker and the Parker Flag: God Bless America.

**RIDING DRAG with DEBRA COPPINGER HILL is featured each week at ALWAYS COWBOY where Debra is a Resident Western Poet. Join her and her Cowboy Friends for Cowboy Poetry, News & Events. http://alwayscowboy.net

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