Angels, Vikings, Flags, and Stuff

Today we ate lunch with my mom and brother at the train station. As we walked home around 2pm, we passed by the site of the new Provo Temple, still under construction, and suddenly Ethan remembered they were putting the Angel Moroni on top at 2:30. The “Angel Moroni” statue tops many LDS temples, a symbol of an ancient prophet blowing a fanfare, announcing the gospel to the nations. We sat on the steps of the courthouse building across the street, where over a hundred others huddled and talked. As we watched the crane and construction workers maneuver the statue into place, the crowd started singing “The Spirit of God” and other hymns. I had a sore throat – so I only hummed along – but the whole experience gave me chills. It was beautiful, and when the statue rested safely on top, facing east, a few kindergarten-age kids started clapping and cheering, and everybody joined in. I’m glad we stopped.

I’m also glad we stopped on the way home to see a shop I’ve explored before. I keep trying to get Ethan into this store, and for some reason, we just never make the time. Well, today was that day!

The store is called “Flags and Stuff.” And that’s what they sell. As you go into the store, you walk slap-bang into a display of brass sculpted Viking warriors. And then you navigate your way around a display of dream-catchers and a shelf of Duck Dynasty paraphernalia and find that the entire right-hand section of the store is devoted to international flags.

Like, seriously. Just flags. Name a country. They’ve got it. Cambodia: check. Ghana: check. Chile: check. Pirate: several. And in just about every size out there. Ethan went into Spanish-teacher mode and started rationalizing that, as a future Spanish teacher, all of these things would be useful in his classroom…therefore, he should be able to buy all of them, right? I played “budget good guy” for a while, reminding him that we couldn’t afford all of the flags…

And then I reached the left side of the store. Remember how the right side is all flags?

America. The left side is all America. And not just ‘Murica-style bumper stickers. I mean real, old-fashioned, classy America. As in, I can pick up a facsimile of the Declaration of Independence to put on my wall for 8 bucks. The part of me that wants to be a history teacher went a little crazy. I think the lady who owns the store thought we were funny. We were geeking out all over the place.

Now let’s talk about the owner. Her name is Roseanne. She introduced herself, helped us find stuff, told us all about the shop, told us she’d love to have us help out except she can’t afford to hire anyone right now, and told us about her husband Stan. Stan recently fell down a ladder, broke an ankle and hurt his back, and without insurance (ACA complications), they’re putting things on massive sale to get inventory moving and raise the money to pay for the hospital bills.

Which means two things:
1. Everything in this store is ridiculously cheap. Which makes me want to buy everything in it.
2. Stan and Roseanne are great people, and their store needs more publicity. Which makes me want to drag everyone in there and just freak out all over again.

As we checked out, Roseanne gave us 50% off a book (that was already on sale), just because she couldn’t see charging the full $4 for a book on Chinese history. Then she gave us her business card. And a few postcards with the picture of the Provo Temple we saw earlier in the day. And a free 2014 calendar. We spent $15 total and walked out with two baseball caps, a history book, and a pocket copy of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence. (Two dollars, people. Pocket constitution. Two dollars. And if you buy over 50, they’re only a buck apiece. I was so tempted to buy more than 50.)

Pirate flags. Bronze Vikings. Old-timey American souvenirs. Foreign keychains. Greatness. If you’re in Provo, go now. It’s on University Avenue. ♦

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