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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Weekend

In the chilly stillness of the morn
A day begins, a day is born
Think about what you can do
In free hours which are too few
Will you rest or play or work?
Think of those who don't shirk
Their duty so that we can have a say
In whether to work or rest or play
On this memorial Saturday.
--Susan Donald

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that for the most part my status updates are in short verse. This is the one I posted this morning because even when I'm feeling cruddy (which I am today due to a springtime cold) I can come up with a passable rhyme. Since I won't be doing much in the way of celebrating this weekend I'm remembering Memorial weekends past.

My parents always made a celebration of holidays and when I was very young we had a charcoal grill which Dad was in charge of. Mom made her tuna macaroni salad, potato & egg salad, and green jello salad, and sometimes deviled eggs. There were potato chips, pretzels, cheese doodles (my favorite), raw vegetables and a cheese plate to go with the hamburgers and hot dogs. Strawberry shortcake, sometimes homemade ice cream and toasted marshmallows eaten at dusk as we ran around the yard with sparklers topped off the day. Those were nice days.  I recall one Memorial Day parade in town my senior year of high school. I was on the drill team, which meant I was on a squad of girls twirling flags leading the marching band down the street. Usually we wore short flippy skirted uniforms with short white boots with pompoms in our school  colors on them. I loved those boots and the clicking sound they made as we marched along, pompoms swinging in time to the drumbeat. This particular parade, however, we were allowed to wear denim shorts, white tee shirts, red bandana neckerchiefs, and white socks and canvas shoes. We were all so happy about that! It seems a small thing now but I'm sure it was a huge deal to my 18 year old self.

After I was married my husband and I spent most Memorial Days at my parents' house with pretty much the same menu only by that time my parents had a gas grill and one of my brothers or my husband was just as likely to be in charge of it. Some years, after we bought our house, my in-laws came to stay with us so we had a small picnic here. After our first daughter came along we walked down the hill to our town's Memorial Day parade. One year it was so cold it was spitting snow yet we still went to watch what was a very small parade with no bands in it save one of our elementary school's on the back of a flat bed playing patriotic tunes. When my girls were a little older they marched with the Girl Scouts, and my husband with his pipe band. I'd drop them all off at the beginning of the route then go park at the end and wait for the parade to reach me so I could take pictures. Once my eldest was in high school she marched in that band. We don't go to the parade any more, and we generally don't go anywhere or have anyone over for the holiday. Perhaps one year we'll begin having a get together on Memorial Day, I'd like to do that again.

Those are some of my Memorial Day memories. I hope that you have some nice memories, or are planning to make some new ones this weekend!


Anonymous said...

It's great that you have a lot of nice Memorial Day weekend memories! :-)

Anonymous said...

Lovely poem! Wonderful memories of childhood. It brings back my own childhood memories of family cookouts. It's such a shame that many families have to live so far apart now. I wish my own children could have these beautiful memories as well.