Warning: this is a no-edit zone….
This morning, I’m a little bent over a situation I read about online.
It seems a woman received a sign from her husband. It’s the yellow ribbon with the U.S. flag behind it, and it says, “Support our Troops.” He asked that she put the sign in their yard.
She did. And her homeowner’s association levied a fine against her. $100 per day for as long as the sign stayed in her yard. The covenants require that only “For Sale” signs can be placed in the yard.
The woman refused to take the sign down. You see, her husband–the man who sent her the sign and asked she place in it the yard–is in Iraq. He’s a member of the U.S. military and stationed there. And she says the sign stays.
The homeowner’s association fears making an exception because someone could put up an opposing sign and then they’ve got a turf war on their hands. The woman can’t afford the fine, but refuses to remove the sign. The association is obligated to enforce the covenants. It’s a mess.
The debate online is back and forth. Some side with the woman, some side with the association. And I’m sitting here thinking that if this much attention and effort were focused on world hunger, there wouldn’t be any.
I do see both sides of this, but when the water washes the sand, here’s what I’ve got left. I was one of those wives who kept the home fires burning while my husband–and later, my husband and my son–were sent off to fight wars for this country. And I’m telling you right now, you don’t pick and choose support in those situations. You either stand by them or you don’t. And if either my husband or my son sent a sign and said put it in the yard, the sign would be there. Levy all the fines you want. I don’t care if my next door neighbor, who is safe at home is offended. I don’t care if the association goes nuts and is offended or if the guy down the block wants the troops to come home. None of those folks are off fighting that war, and not one of them will take even the smallest measure of comfort in knowing that sign is in my yard. But my husband and/or my son will.
When they’re in a tough spot, they’ll think of it, and know I’m thinking of them. They’ll know someone is aware of where they are, what they’re facing and that is the bottom line.
This woman is a young wife, and I’m sure that this $100 a day strikes her about the same as $1,000 or even a million. And so my message to her is this:
Keep your sign up for your husband. If you need help paying the damn fine, post an address on where those of us who get why you’re doing this can send money.
A heart is a terrible thing to waste…
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