With the relaxation of COVID mandates on the horizon, people were looking forward to gathering with family, friends and other loved ones to celebrate the Memorial Day holiday, more so because we’ve been kept apart by the virus for all of the holidays in 2020 (well, we were supposed to be, but you know people ignored that mandate). Mother Nature, however, had other ideas! In my neck of the woods, Saturday’s high was the lowest high (is that an oxymoron of sorts??) recorded in history, and the same was true for Sunday. We were averaging 20 degrees cooler than the average for this time of year, and rain drops played an integral part of the weather as well. The rain did finally clear out by late Monday morning, and we saw peeks of sunshine.
Not knowing what the weather would be like for this particular weekend when I made plans, my beloved brother and I decided it would be a good day on Sunday to visit, since he would have Monday to do all of the domestic things he normally does on a Sunday. The trip to visit each other is a 4-hour round trip time span, which is only 1/2 hour more each way than where I lived before. He was the last to make the drive, so it was my turn, and I had a few homemade goodies in my freezer that needed to find their way to him.
The drive there was incumbered by drizzle for the first half, then some clearing, though whenever a vehicle passed me, the wet spray from its tires made my wipers necessary again. And of course, when I pulled into the parking lot, it started to drizzle again (because that’s the way my luck goes). We had a good hug for the first time since the pandemic began, drizzle and all. I didn’t have a lot to take in, so between us, it was just one trip. And this is a good thing, because he’s got some truly God-awful outside steps (16, I think?) leading up to his place and I have to take them somewhat slowly to make sure I don’t have a fall. Once inside, we put the few things into the freezer and fridge, and then we sat down to chat.
I love my chats with my brother. We start off with a topic and it often wanders into another topic. It’s such a relaxed atmosphere, where we can (and have, on occasion) talk about anything! No filters are needed, no need to measure words, no worry that either of us will be judged by stating our thoughts and opinions.
In addition to the food goodies I brought along, I gave my brother what I chose to call a “late birthday and early Christmas” gift. It was something foreign from any gift I have ever given him, and I hoped it was something he would appreciate.
Brad, whom you’ve read about before here on my blog, is a wonderful blogger who has found his niche in poetry. His poetry covers an eclectic variety of subjects, and at times, I wonder if he’s writing from personal perspective or just what comes into his head in any given moment. He has had a few works published at a site called Spillwords, a literary ezine (you can check it out at http://www.spillwords.com) and they interviewed him for a Q&A to highlight him as their “author of the month” for March. Although Brad is my younger brother and so, technically, I’ve known him for his entire life, I discovered things in that interview that I never really knew about him, especially his fondness for poets like Whitman, Longfellow, Wadsworth, Tennyson and many, many others. Learning that, I had the opportunity to purchase what would be considered a “first edition” (printed in 1893, it was his first printed work although they didn’t have “first editions” back then) of Tennyson’s poems.
I admit, I was a little nervous that, while he appreciates all gifts, this gift would be something that would be near and dear to him. Judging by how many times he touched the book, opened the book, perused pages and talked about the book, I knew he liked it. (Whew!) He also wrote a poem about the value of the book to him and his proud ‘ownership’ of it! (Double Whew!)
After all of that anxiety was passed, we went to the grocery store where I finished stocking up his freezer because I hadn’t brought much stuff with me (I usually can fill up his freezer with homemade goodies!), brought in the perishable things and and put them away, and we went out to my favorite fast food place that I don’t have a chance to get close to unless I’m at his place. The dining room was closed, so we did drive-thru and then came back and snarfed Long John Silver’s fish and chips and hush puppies. This particular LJS shares space with Kentucky Fried Chicken (which I also can’t get anywhere around me), so I got some KFC chicken tenders to take home for later. Of course, I also brought home fish because I couldn’t eat it all.
All too soon, because I know the approximate times when my energy will start to fade as well as when it will be depleted, it was time for me to head back home. Down those same steps is even trickier, but I got to the asphalt safely. Then it was time for another hug – a super-duper going to stay locked in arms for as long as we want – before I got in my car. Driving home was a little more white-knuckled, because 18-wheelers were more active on the road, but no incidents.
I came home, put my leftovers in the fridge, sat down on the recliner and read a little bit to unwind. I pushed myself to stay awake until the local evening news was over (6 – 6:30 PM). The next thing I knew, it was almost 10:30 PM and I needed to use the bathroom. I slept then, on and off, until sometime after 3 AM, which is a lot of time for me to sleep at one time.
Monday, I spent the morning napping (apparently, I wasn’t caught up enough) and then lounged, watching a movie on Amazon Prime and reading. Dinner consisted of a warmed up piece of fish, a single chicken tender, a hushpuppy and, of course, Cowboy baked beans.
I can’t say I did a lot to actively celebrate Memorial Day. I’d gotten all of my patriotic stuff displayed on my porch, and Brad and I did talk about how Memorial Day is different from Armed Services Day is different from Veteran’s Day. I know that many people treat all three holidays the same – by thanking those who have served and those who are serving – and those who did or are deserve our thanks every day of the year, holiday or not. But if you didn’t already know this, Memorial Day is specifically dedicated to those who served who died in the line of their service. Armed Services Day is dedicated to those who are actively serving our country, and Veteran’s Day is for thanking those who have served our country. But like I said, there is no harm taking a moment to thank and appreciate ALL of our soldiers!
So, while it wasn’t the typical Memorial Day weekend, my respects were paid, and I will remain always grateful to the soldiers – and the families they left behind – for the ultimate sacrifice of life.
I hope your holiday (at least here in the US) paid some tribute to all branches of our armed forces