Every Memorial Day is a good day because folks are really at their best, I think. Remembering is not easy when the remembering is about a loss and doing so takes bravery.
It’s easier to remember Memorial Day as a day, just a day in early summer. That’s easy.
During the 1960s in Elmhurst, Il, we used to spend this weekend surrounded by the peonies Dad grew like a single strand of pearls around the neck of our ranch house. We had orbs of fushia and itsy-baby pink and white with burgundy tongues. Dad snipped ’em and parked them in plastic milk cartons Mom had saved for the weekend trip to the cemeteries not very near to our house where our deceased relatives resided.
A caravan from the western burbies included our family of five, our Lombard and Bensenville and Downers Grove cousins, mums, pops. Maybe 60 of us in all. We were for that day a caravan of bohemians somehow together. And the smell of peonies were with us.
Maybe what you see is never as important as what you feel. I don’t know but the feeling on these trips was really really close.
We did dumb things because we were kids or because the feeling of being close set us free. We romped around the cemeteries we visited. Romping was not as I recall the modus operandi of our everyday lives.
We romped. And we had the peony smell all around us. And there was loss to think about and people who were with us before but were gone now. And we were together.