Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Memories

'Memorial Day Parade'
"The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit" (Psalm 34:18).
 
Growing up Memorial Day was always a special day! When I was real little my mom and dad and I would load up early in the morning and make the round of cemeteries to decorate the graves of loved ones that passed on before us. At that time there were only a few graves to decorate, so the rest of the day would be spent with family. Usually, we would gather together for a day of fun...a game of horseshoes, homemade ice cream, and fun with the cousins as we rolled giggling down the grassy bank at Grandpa and Grandma's house in the country. At the time that bank seemed so huge, but, looking at it as an adult, it was hardly anything.

In later years we continued to do the cemetery rounds, but, due to reasons unknown to me...finances, perhaps, or, maybe, a shift in values...my parents stopped decorating the graves. Oftentimes, after a morning of visiting the cemeteries, we would end up at a place that was historically important, not only to those interested in local Civil War history, but, to us, personally, as a family...the Anderson House in Lexington, Missouri. We had family members that were caretakers there at one time and my grandmother had spent many delightful days there as a child. We would often end up there on family outings and she would share her memories, as well as the secrets of the old house, with me, as together, we would explore its every nook and cranny. You could do that back then, but not now.

As time went on and older generations passed away, our Memorial Day traditions changed and, for the most part, fell away. We stopped doing the cemetery rounds altogether and usually just settled for a cook-out at the folks house. When my mother passed away that pretty much stopped, too. Memorial Day became a day of much-needed rest more than anything else. Last year Memorial Day was spent at the hospital by my uncle's bedside after he suffered a massive heart attack, endured emergency surgery, and, later that afternoon, died. It was not a good holiday weekend!

Fast forward...this morning...

After a particularly trying week and weekend, I woke up this morning in tears. I was feeling dull, depressed, and anxious. I felt physically and spiritually ill. I did not want to face another Memorial Day Monday.

While sitting at my desk later in the morning...pondering my day and the week ahead, my son, who...I still don't know if he realized what he was doing or not...I don't know if he was subconciously drawing on past memories of Memorial Day at his own grandparent's house, or if he was simply trying to brighten my day...but whatever the reason, he came in and asked if we had any hot dogs or hamburgers. I told him that I thought there might be a few turkey burgers left in the freezer, but there weren't any hot dogs...why? He said that he was just wondering...was thinking of maybe grilling something. Next thing I knew the old, familiar smell of good times past...the smokey smell of a charcoal grill...came wafting through the house. With the smell came a flood of happy memories and, before I knew it, my own spirit began to soar as it wafted heavenward...filled with praise to my Saviour...as gratitude flooded my soul!

At that moment, even though I had, neither time, nor inclination, to prepare anything special for today's holiday, thoughts flooded my mind! I had one more pan of baked beans in the freezer! I had one can of potatoes left! Mix that with a couple green onions from the garden, a little Miracle Whip, mustard, and spices...and viola! Instant potato salad! A quick trip to Casey's for a small bag of chips and a bottle of soda...serve it all up on the traditional Memorial Day paper plate and...how about that? Despite all the hoopla and weariness...we had a little celebration of sorts after all! I thanked my son for getting the ball rolling, and I praised the Lord for picking up my weary soul and ministering to it as only He can!

The only thing missing today was homemade ice cream! Hmmm...I wonder if there's not something creative that I can do about that??? (smile)

Have a Happy and Blessed Memorial Day!

All My Love,
~Rebecca

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