I took a picture outside this morning of our little lilac bush, as it bloomed a nice group of lilac blossoms – Memorial weekend must be here at last. I remember just a few months ago, as I would look out and see an ocean of white as the snow covered everything with a cold, almost lifeless blanket, as I daily longed for the time when we would move out of that bleakness. Suddenly, it seems, everything is alive once again up here in the North! The trees are all leafed out, the grass is nice and green, and all sorts of flowers and shrubs have – all on their own – decided to make the world colorful and fanciful with their blossoms. Even the rhubarb, full of green and red, has overnight, it seemed, exploded into a huge plant on the corner of the house. It almost looks like Audrey, the Venus fly trap in “The Little Shop of Horrors.”
And as the wind blows, as it always does up here it seems, it’s still not a cold wind, and it’s comfortable as you roll the windows down in the car, to cool it off from getting superheated by the sun hitting it. The late afternoon has found us sitting on our back patio, sunglasses and flipflopped, as we just sit, and talk about things that are worth talking about. Cheri is off from work this coming week, but the quirky thing is that over the past number of weekends, we have accomplished the big projects, or staining the egress window wells, and hanging new shades in the gazebo, and planting the flowers and even trimming back a few of the unruly shrubs and bushes. If I play my cards right, we may almost be able to take this week in a leisurely style. It was a bit touch and go yesterday, however – you could see in Cheri’s eyes and her demeanor that she was having trouble settling down. Her pace at work is so intense, and overpacked, that it becomes nearly impossible for her to just relax. That will be my goal for this week, as it also is much nicer to live in a stroll instead of a sprint.
Rain is expected this afternoon, although it has been a rare commodity this Spring. It always seems to be the same pattern: three or four days out, there is a huge chance of lots of rain – between ½ and ¾ inch, maybe even repeated for two or three days in a row. Then, as we sneak closer to rain day, it suddenly drops to about ¼ inch, and now this morning, we are in the running for .05” – unless of course, it goes north or south of us, which is also not surprising. May and June are supposed to be a bit wetter, but this year is just dry. I guess we will have to water from the ground up with the sprinkler system, since I hate to have the grass look like late August when it’s only Memorial weekend.
The good news about the weekend, however, is that I have two full tanks of propane, and a grill that they bought me last summer, that’s ready to go. Today we are grilling both country style ribs and babyback ribs, since for some odd and weird reason, Adam doesn’t care for the meaty and delicious country style, but instead, likes to gnaw on the little bits of meat found on a baby back rib. Go figure. Tomorrow, then, we will enjoy brats on the grill, even if it’s raining, since it’s that kind of holiday, and the taste and snap of a brat with ketchup, mustard and pickle relish – maybe even some onions – is a treat to enjoy.
Finally, we move to Memorial Day itself, where we recognize and honor those who have given their lives in the military service of our country’s defense. In doing my family history, I have been proud and impressed to find ancestors who have been part of protecting our land since back in the Narraganset Indian war, and even the French and Indian War. Every was that has followed has had a Cross, or a Dow, or other family name fighting. We even have the record of Lexington and Concord, as the men of our family stood the line on Battle Road as the militia sought to defeat the British regulars. I’m not a violent man, and war is not something to be eager about, but to know that even that far back, members of my family, which from then to my father, my brother and my nephew and brothers-in-law have all given their bravery.
I have an actual letter written to my great-great-great grandfather in the 1860s, by a niece, where she talks about “Uncle Abe” being reelected, and how proud she is of her big brother who fights for the Union, and how if she were a man, she would have joined up herself. Of course, it’s out of the Civil War that Decoration Day, and later, Memorial Day found its place.
So, in honor of all that, what else can I do except grill some ribeye steaks and salute not only my family and ancestors, but all the millions who have done what they could to preserve and defend our freedom. The steaks will be medium rare, of course, with corn on the cob, deviled eggs, and a watermelon that is already chilling in the refrigerator. As is my long held tradition, a little sprinkling of salt on the watermelon will make it even sweeter than it is.
So, with lilacs and grilled fixings, and some time to recall who I am through who my ancestors have been, it should be a great Memorial Weekend. Just help me to make sure I can get Cheri to just relax for a weekend at least…
Word for the day: rusticate. Pronounced RUST-ih-kate. Actually, I found the word as part of a newspaper item from my family’s history, where it was stated that my great-aunt Hazel during one week of her life was “rusticating” with her cousins. I found that to be intriguing, and it triggered my Latin background. The word rusticarti, is translated “to live in the country.” We read about those “rustic” cabins. Of course, they are out in the woods, or on the prairie. Anytime you find yourself in the country, or farming or living away from the city, you indeed are rusticating. Not a bad word…
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.