Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

Revised from 2008

Memorial Day is one of those holidays I didn't understand as a kid. It was always May 30, my Grandma's and my sister's birthday. (For a number of years I think my sister thought the parade was for her.) And somehow it signaled the start of summer.

We would always go to visit my Mom's and Dad's families in Port Clinton and Marblehead, OH up along Lake Erie. In my earliest memories, we would go to the parade (standing up each time an American flag went by) then cook out and play all day with our cousins. If we stayed with my Dad's parents for the weekend, we would be fishing the rest of the time.

Later, when Port Clinton added the Walleye Festival, the town had two parades. We only went to one, but I can never remember whether it was the Walleye Parade, or the Memorial Day Parade we watched. As young adults, we would camp out at my parents' old farm house (my grandparents' house) that was on the shore of the Sandusky Bay. We had three acres to hang out on and would invite as many friends as we could to go up for the weekend. We would swim, fish, have camp fires and just have a blast. Dad always had all of the inner tubes inflated before we got there. And he always found a way to get a TV with the Indy 500 close to our personal beach. (I only ever watched the last 5 minutes.) We would all go to the Walleye Festival at least one evening of the weekend.

Things have changed quite a bit now that my grandparents and parents are all gone. We still sometimes go up for the weekend, but we feel more like guests than we used to. The beach is no longer owned by my family, the old farm house is gone and the new house won't be ours much longer either. I haven't been fishing in probably 10 years.

Life is a little more stressful this year than last. Several of my friends have been affected by unemployment, student loans are harder to get, WALK! Magazine folded and I seriously need to buy a clothes dryer and a car for our daughter. And we still own that house that we expected to sell over a year ago.

But that is OK. Some things change, some things don't, and life goes on. Though I thought we were developing new traditions in 2008, the stress of the year caused me to completely forget what we did last year until today. Despite not hosting a big family cookout, and I'm not entered in a Monday race, my family did a lot of relaxing and hanging out together and the three of us cooked out shish kabob. Unfortunately, my husband has to work on Monday. I would have entered a race, but I'm trying to spend less money right now.

Despite our highs and lows this past 12 months, what is important this weekend is to remember that we live in a great country, one of the safest in the world. I'm thankful I have the choice of hosting a cookout, watching a parade or not entering a 5-mile race to celebrate the freedom we have. (I'll enter a race next year, I promise!)

So, on Memorial Day weekend, I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy yourself, your family and our country. And don't forget why we have the freedom to make these choices.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cindi, thank you for sharing your family memories and also for remembering our veterans who gave so much for their country. I was very touched by this blog entry. Dan