Saturday, April 26, 2014

‘Come and take it’ lost in translation from Texian to Arkansian

Last Monday while the Sears repairman worked on my fire-damaged mower, I worked on getting my Come And Take It flag onto a makeshift staff – a four-foot wooden dowel.

When I had the flag ready for insertion into holders on the front porch and when walking by the repairman, I asked if he knew about the flag. He said he did not. Never missing a chance to educate Arkansans in things Texas, I explained:

Colonists in Gonzalez, Texas, petitioned the Mexican army for a cannon to protect against Indian raids, mostly by Comanche. The army sent a small cannon, probably a swivel gun. In 1835, as relations worsened between colonists and the government in Mexico City, the local army commander in San Antonio asked for return of the cannon. Gonzalez residents declined. The commander sent a contingent to get the cannon. The colonists (armed, as all colonists and citizens should be) met the soldiers with the small cannon on a crude carriage, and a flag with a crude drawing of the cannon, a single star, and the words “Come And Take It.” The soldiers tried, but failed. (Two Mexican soldiers were killed.) The cannon might have been used at the Alamo, I said.

When I finished talking, the repairman just looked at me as though trying to process the information. I realized I lost him somewhere around “colonists” and “Mexican army.” He said, “Hunh. That’s an interesting story.”

He went back to working on my mower; I went to the front porch and put up the flag.

I realize not everyone knows anything about Texas history, but everybody should.

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