Summertime, and the Living Is Easy

When I went over to the grocery store yesterday afternoon (somewhere in the neighborhood of 4:30), it was like a ghost town. It was quiet, except for the background Muzak music of Janis Joplin singing Piece of My Heart. And, by the way, did THAT make me feel old. Janis Joplin is now grocery store background music. Nothing says canned tomatoes like 60s rock-and-roll. I wonder how she would feel about that.

I reckoned everyone had already done their shopping, and they were now preparing their burgers and hot dogs to throw on the grill in good ol’ God Bless America fashion. As for me, I frankly forgot that it was even a holiday until my sister Bec reminded me I wouldn’t be able to lay flowers on our parents’ grave this year, seeings as I’m 800 miles away in AZ for my niece’s wedding.

Despite this year’s forgetfulness, I’ve always been a fan of Memorial Day. I guess I’m lucky in that I don’t know a single person who died while serving this country as part of the military. I know plenty who served, including my father, my husband, several cousins, and my brother-in-law. I’m grateful that they lived to tell their own stories.

When Bill and I took our trip to Europe, one of the most powerful days was when we visited Normandy, France. Seeing that beach, and just how far it was to run from the boat to some cover on D-Day, literally moved us to silence.

Anyhoo, one of the reasons I am fond of Memorial Day is historically, it means the end of the school year. In recent years, our Denver grandkids haven’t had their last day of school until mid-June. This year, however, they were all finished last Friday. I’m guessing the earlier year-end is because there was no need for snow days given that they learned from home much of the year. Well, attempted to learn from home anyway. As for our Vermont grands, they have another couple of weeks.

When I was in elementary school, Memorial Day was the end of the school year. Man, I can remember those days like it was yesterday. I can remember emptying my desk, and leaving crumbs of crayons and broken pencil leads and shards of eraser behind. My notebooks were tattered. I carried dumb art work under my arm for Mom to promptly throw away when I got home. I looked forward to taking off my school clothes and putting on the shorts and sleeveless shirts that I would wear for the next three months. I tossed my school shoes in the back of the closet and got out my flip-flops (which we called thongs at that time).

Now it’s our grandkids’ turn. I think they’re all happy to see school ending for the year. Not surprisingly, they would all say that the 2020-2021 school term was difficult. One for the books, but a book they would never want to read again.

I’m looking forward to spending more time with them now that school’s out and we will be back in Denver. Our Vermont family comes for a visit soon, so that’s something to look forward to.

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