When I was kid growing up, Memorial Day was one of great excitement. Our church had a tradition of “breakfast in the mountains” and my father was the cook. The night before, he would pack the car with all the essentials for cooking pancakes at a campsite in the mountains, and the next morning we rose up at the crack of dawn and drove up into the mountains. We found the campsite, and he and my mother set up the equipment and made preparations to cook pancakes and fry bacon and us kids – well, we played and explored and ran around, and had a ball.
And soon other people from the church showed up with their kids and we all played and explored and ran around had a ball together. And as the morning advanced, soon portable radios came out and the men listened to the Indianapolis 500. We were not particularly interested in listening to cars roar around a race track and so my dad would begin to clean up and pack the gear and we came home.
And the years passed, but for me the Memorial Day tradition came to a screeching halt when I reached college. Instead of going to the mountains, I found myself holed up on Memorial Day weekends frantically studying for final exams and finishing term papers. We did not have computers back then – we did it the old fashioned way: we looked up things in books at the library, wrote notes down on index cards, and typed it on old Royal standard manual typewriter.
And then Memorial Day sort of became “just another day” in the year. Our family never visited the cemetery or decorated family graves, and certainly after we moved here, there were no family graves to decorate or visit even if we had a mind to do that.
Last year, however, Memorial Day suddenly became memorable once again. It sucked. Big time. Without a doubt, it was the worst day in my life -- up to that point, at least. A worse day was to come, of course.
We have been advised to “find distractions” this Memorial Day weekend, and so we are.
A friend turns 60 tomorrow, and there will be a birthday party at her church after the morning service, which we will attend for a while, then we must high-tail it back to our church in the afternoon because it our turn to host the “5th Sunday Singing” for the area churches. Today I will be occupied making food for that: Asian cabbage pear salad, macaroni and cheese, and a chicken pie.
On Monday, another friend is having us over for a meal.
So, we will take deep breaths, no doubt shed a few tears, and get through it.