Broken Threads
Bev Vines-Haines

       Silas Hornsley hunched over a thick stack of papers, turning them for the best light from his candle.  He had to get this right, obliterate every mention of Betsy Ross’ name.  A woman!  John Adams wanted to give credit to a woman!  Unthinkable.   An outrage. 

Credit for drawing that upstart flag?  For stitching it?  Pure rebellion, that’s what it was.  And it led to war.  Just like a woman!  And even worse, she was a seamstress.  A common livelihood at best.     

Damn!  He found her name again.  Praising her for her design.  He remembered the paintings he’d seen in Philadelphia, riff-raff soldiers marching into battle with that flag.  A circle of stars.  Stripes.  All red, white and blue.  A child could have drawn the thing. 

And against the British.  The finest military force on earth.  And they defeated them!     

Carefully he altered the letters, scraped off bits of ink and wiped entire words away.  By morning when it was time to turn the documents over to the historical committee for the new White House, Betsy Ross and her claims of glory would fade into oblivion.

He hated women.  Hated, too, the men who’d run that Continental Congress and used him as a common runner for necessities.   It was one thing to spew forth their traitorous rage.  Quite another to treat a woman as an equal.  Maybe he couldn’t stop this America but he could destroy Betsy Ross.     

“They’ll never believe her now,” he said, smiling.  “There will always be questions.”

First published: August, 2010
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