Every year growing up we would faithfully go to the cemetery where my grandfather, who served in World War II, is buried. This year we have the honor of going back. We will also be going to my other Grandparent’s graves this year since my Grandfather recently passed away. Grandma was the original Rosie the Riveter. All gave so much.
The fragrance of peonies harvested from the local gardens, not a flower shop, will permeate the air. The few Greatest Generation veterans and new generation veterans will give the chilling 21-gun salute. And maybe we will gain a sense of perspective, and we will all leave a little more humble.
Our large extended family gathers for lunch after the ceremony. Our family is of staid German descent, so feelings won’t be verbalized, but there is no need. There is comfort in family, in the pomp and circumstance and in tradition. Then one of our strapping cousins will jump into the pool, and the festivities will begin.
The classic all-American hot dogs and hamburgers will be served. Or maybe delicious slow roasted pulled pork. The ground meat will come from the family stock, and the sausages will be from the local butcher, Willow Creek Meats. It’s too early for garden tomatoes to place on the juicy burgers, but the cherries from the orchard are nearly ripe.
If we’re very lucky we will be treated to Grammy’s cherry pie. She just turned 93 but still wins purple ribbons in the pie making contests at the local fair. Simple and fresh accompaniments: potato salad, baked beans, fruit salad. And there you have it, the recipe for a classic Memorial Day in America circa 2012 and beyond.