Memorial Memories

I have always loved Memorial Day. It’s my favorite patriotic holiday. It even beats out Independence Day because the Fourth of July is usually hot, often rainy, and if you want a good fireworks show, you have to queue up with the rest of the people who want a good fireworks show.

As a kid, Memorial Day always meant School’s Out For the Summer, just as Alice Cooper promised. I still can remember the feeling of cleaning out my desk, throwing away my chewed-up Number 2 pencils, saying goodbye to those I wouldn’t see for Three Whole Months, and making plans with my besties who I would see a lot of over the summer.

Memorial Day also meant our annual trip to the cemeteries where Mom would carefully place the peonies and irises that she had picked from her garden in front of the graves of my grandparents and some of my deceased aunts and uncles. I loved those visits, and I can’t tell you why. Every time we take a trip back to Columbus, we stop at the Catholic cemetery and try to find Grandma and Grandpa Micek’s headstone. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t. Then we head over to Rosemont Cemetery where we easily find Grammie and Gramps’ graves.

Memorial Day also always meant a cookout of some sort. Mom might pack a picnic of fried chicken and cole slaw, or Dad might cook steaks or pork chops on the grill. I can smell them cooking as I write this blog.

Memorial Day 2020 will be one for the books, that’s for sure. The reason, of course, is our friend the coronavirus. Yesterday felt about like every day has felt for the last three months. Actually, that’s not exactly true. I think people are starting to carefully come out of their dens, sort of like Punxsutawney Phil coming out of his hibernation home to see if the sun is shining so he can tell us how many more weeks there are in winter.

We went over to visit Court and his family on Sunday. For the first time since this all began, they felt comfortable letting us into the house instead of visiting them outside, responsibly distanced. Not only that, but I got to hug all three kids for the first time since we returned to a Denver. Admittedly, Cole looked at me suspiciously before he accepted the hug, asking me if I had been around people who were sick. I assured him that I always wore a mask outside. And then he not only hugged me, but sat on my lap.

I hope that everybody behaves themselves so that we can continue to move back to normalcy this summer. I’m looking forward to lots of time with our family, many picnics and cookouts, and lots of hugs.

And, by the way, Bill and I did make it out to the cemetery to place my own irises and snowballs by Mom and Dad’s headstone. No coronavirus is going to stop that tradition. ….


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