SHADY COVE — Through wind and rain and blizzard's might, the flag waves on through day and night.

SHADY COVE — Through wind and rain and blizzard's might, the flag waves on through day and night.

"I drive by it every day," said Pam Sieg, Mail Tribune librarian, "and I've always wondered how it got there."

It's one of those trivial questions that, from time to time, flutters around in someone's brain and never seems to get asked or answered.

The object of this puzzlement is a bald bump of a mountain southeast of Shady Cove, where an American flag has flown securely over the city for at least a decade.

Sieg is not the only one who's noticed the flag. At least 10 longtime residents of the town admitted they've wondered about it, but said they knew nothing at all.

Finally, someone said, "Talk to Walt Davenport."

"I don't know what possessed us to do it," said Davenport, "other than we were just bored young guys."

Davenport, his brother Spencer and Nick Thomas have been tending the flag from the beginning.

"We hiked a 5-gallon jug of water up there and 90 pounds of cement," he said. "We mortared rocks around the pole and when it was set, we mounted the flag."

Not long after, they discovered someone had bent the pole, so, they went back up and did it all over again, this time with a bigger and stronger pole. For additional protection they added a lock.

Davenport said the three friends take turns buying the flags and that each flag lasts from three to four months.

When they were kids, they used to camp on the bare dome, which they called Snake Rock, and when the flag idea popped into their heads, the rock was an obvious location choice.

"It's on BLM land and back then there was nothing up there," he said. "Now, the homeowners are nice enough to let us go through their property to replace the flag."

Though it's not something they've done very often, he said they are always willing to fly other people's flags.

"If someone wants their flag up for a special day in the summertime, I'd be happy to pre-arrange something," he said. "They could get in touch with me through the people at Shady Cove City Hall."

He remembers one sentimental incident from a few years back.

"We had a lady donate a flag that had been on her husband's casket," he said, "but it was one of those cotton type flags and it didn't do well. It gets pretty windy up there, so we had to take it down pretty quickly."

The men have never asked for donations, but Davenport said if someone just wanted to donate a flag, he'd be willing to put it up.

"They could drop it off at the city and I'd call them when we had it flying," he said.

"We're just trying to be patriotic and do something nice for the community. It's a pleasure to do it and I hope I can make it a family thing and pass it on to my kids."

Bill Miller is a freelance writer living in Shady Cove. Reach him at newsmiller@yahoo.com