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A red, white and blue story

The red, white & blue.

I would say that I kind of grew up in somewhat of an idyllic neighborhood in the bay area surrounded by orchards, old homes and pretty little streets- with flags flying out in front of some of the houses even.  It wasn't perfect of course, we had the now all too common divorce, remarriage, blended family issues that caused a few ripples and I will admit that I was a bit of a cranky teenager. (Thanks for loving me even so Mom)
And in spite of what the area being pretty amazing- at 17- I just wanted something SO different than what I knew. And, I set out after high school in search of what I viewed as freedom to be Me.

Through Colorado and Wyoming and I landed in Montana one cold autumn evening.
Now know that I had never seen temperatures below probably 30 before... and I remember when I pulled up to the hotel I was staying at - thinking the thermometer outside proudly displaying '4' as the temperature - was wrong.
I mean, clearly they meant it was '40' outside... not '4'. 
Until I got out of my car. And yes, it was most definitely 4 degrees. As in 0-4. Closer to 0 than 10.
That same parking lot was also the first time I saw that cars had cords coming out of the front of them that were plugged in. Not because they were fancy cars like the hybrids we have today- but because the engines would freeze.
That might have been the first time I realized that those freezing winter days in the bay area where we were bundled up- were really not so freezing after all.  haha.

But in spite of the cold, Montana was full of just what I imagined.  Horses, farm animals, cowboys and yes, wheat fields. And just like that Garth Brooks song... those wheat fields really do dance in the wind.

And I loved it.

And so on that random stop in the middle of my 'finding myself' journey- I found myself out of food and gas money. haha. And so, I took a job for a few months and that was where I met a guy who changed everything I thought I knew.

He was a charmer- with the kindest blue eyes, sun kissed skin and neatly trimmed dark hair- and he had horses. :) Being a girl who had grown up taking riding lessons- those horses sealed the deal for a first date. I mean- a handsome guy offers to take you out for a bareback ride? Well instantly it makes you think of that Stetson commercial and romance and all that good stuff, right?

Our first date we chatted about everything and anything and I learned that he wanted to own a business and that he grew up with humble hardworking roots that inspired him to work even harder to achieve his goals. And something that surprised me since he was so young - was that he had also just returned from serving in the first gulf war.

He was sent to the war not long after he graduated high school. He was part of a communications unit doing communications and what not- and as well, being the stocky guy he was (they nicknamed him Horse, haha) he also served as an impromptu bodyguard for his Colonel.
 He served almost a year in the gulf with his unit - and while there- there was a scud missile attack that hit one of their stations in the middle of the night and killed many of the soldiers who were stationed there.
It happened to be the station that the communications unit was supposed to be at. But a last minute change earlier that week had led to orders for their unit to go elsewhere.

I remember the first time he told me some of the stories from that year he spent in the gulf.
The experience and the friendships and how the soldiers in that unit all knew how lucky they were to go home a few months later. They knew that some of their fellow soldiers and their families did not have that same privilege or chance and would be forever changed.
So while there are fun get togethers, picnics and an extra day off to enjoy- Memorial Day is really about more than those things- which is sometimes is overlooked.

And can we talk about vintage flags for a moment as well? Whenever I share photos of this vintage flag that I love so much- I pause.  I google and make sure I turned it the right way, don't have it pinned under anything, that is isn't on a table, etc.
You see, it isn't perfect. It has some tattered edges. And I am sure I probably don't always have it displayed according to the rules. And I absolutely don't mean any disrespect at all if it is wrong.
 I see this vintage flag and I tend to look at that thinning cotton, the faded red, white and blue and bits of imperfections as a sign that this flag was flown proudly by someone for many years.  That while flying proudly- the wind and weather left a few less than perfect spots.
And when I look at it, those tattered flags are kind of like an elderly member of the family or community.
They have a bit of age and a few more battle scars- and are very loved and appreciated just as they are- tattered edges and all.

Have a safe Memorial Day everyone.


  1. Love your blogs and especially this one. My hubby is a Vietnam Vet, served 18 months and when he came home was spit on and called all kinds of names. But he was so glad to get home when some of the men in his unit passed away. One of them was from the south and gave him his Confederate flag before he passed away. We still have that flag.

    1. Thank you Brenda!! And please thank you to your hubby for his service! How terrible for him to be treated that way when he returned from the service. :(

  2. What a beautiful story Courtney and I always knew that you were a great adventurer...I remember my dad getting upset if he saw a flag being improperly displayed or treated. He taught us that we should always be thankful to live in the greatest country in the world and always count our blessings and thank and remember those who sacrificed and served so we may enjoy our wonderful life. Now, may I ask if that young man that you met became Mr. French Country Cottage?

  3. My father was Army, My husband,brother and brother-in-law were Navy. Two of my brother's-in-law were Army. Two nephews-Army. A niece-Navy. I join you in showing honor to the Stars and Strips

  4. I knew it, just knew married the cowboy soldier!! But like you I have an inherent love for the flag My Daddy was in the Battle of the Bulge and my brother in Vietnam. My Daddy served 30 years in the US Army...mostly in Camp Blanding, FL. God bless you and your cowboy soldier and God Bless America!

  5. What a beautiful story and I love the flag on your little garden house!

  6. Courtney,

    Beautifully shared and I'm glad there is another military spouse out there. Please tell him thank you for his service, even if he hates hearing it. I had someone tell me that he thanked them and those he could no longer thank in that one thank you. Blessing, Tamra

  7. Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful story! Love your photos---all of them! And, your garden house with the vintage flag---just perfect!

  8. Beautiful story thank you for sharing it, my father was in the Korean War he was so proud to have served his country, when he died I had a military service, the folding of the flag and then presenting it to me still brings tears to my eyes. Thank you to your husband for his services. One last thing I don't remember ever seeing him any of your post of your family would love to see a picture of the two of you. Happy Memorial day

  9. Thank you for writing this. There are so many people that don't know the real reason for memorial Day. And, many don't know that there are rules for displaying the flag. This July will mark the 11th year since my cousin, Trey Bartlett, was killed in Iraq. He enlisted after 9/11 and is a true hero. It is so heartbreaking when people disrespect the flag and this country. They fail to realize the sacrifices that so many families have made.

  10. What a precious story! It is always so nice to learn about people's journeys. And I love the flag on the cottage. Hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

  11. That is so sweet a story...and fun to find that's your Hubby....sweetness
    Its sad that schools don't teach about our history....because war isn't PC...but I believe remembering is....
    Thanks for reminding all of us...
    I tried your Alum on some hydrangeas and queen anns lace....It works!! changer!! Thanks for that tip!!

  12. Bonjour chère amie,

    Une publication qui rend un bel hommage...

    Gros bisous 🌸