Decoration Day -- 05/29/00

On weekdays I usually get up around 5:30 a.m. but on weekends I tend to sleep in until 6 or 6:30 or even 7... This being the third day of a three day holiday weekend I stayed in bed until almost 6:30... stumbled downstairs... fed Tiger dry food (he likes to have a dish of dry cat food and a dish of "wet" cat food, i.e., from a can, but I had not bought while grocery shopping, thinking that I had seen a couple four-packs of canned food on a shelf, but apparently I was wrong, much to his annoyance)... started coffee... set up the flag and brought in the newspaper... had breakfast while reading the paper.

We had no plans for today other than yard work. One of Nancy's sisters was in Rhode Island for the weekend, along with her teen-aged son. This kid is still a few weeks short of sixteen but he has been well over six feet tall for the past couple years. I'd guess that he is probably six feet four inches, maybe even five, very athletic but also an honor roll student. I've probably explained somewhere that Nancy's mom lives in Rhode Island (in fact, she had moved here first) only about a ten or fifteen minute drive away and one of Nancy's sisters (and her family) lived on that same street. Anyway, that sister and her husband had hosted a cookout Saturday afternoon for their daughter's 14th birthday. Sean couldn't make it -- he had to work. Nancy and I went over early to be able to visit. Jennifer drove Sean to work and then she came over along with two friends. The visiting sister and her son came to our house on Sunday morning to go roller-blading on the bike path near our house (Nancy rode her bike). We went to Nancy's mom's house for dinner on Sunday.

Thus, a weekend of family visiting meant no plans for a Memorial Day cookout or other gathering. I always (weather permitting) fly the flag on holidays. In this case, I flew the flag all three days of the weekend. I can remember, when I was a kid, this holiday had two names... Memorial Day and also Decoration Day... the Decoration Day label went back to the day's origins, when family members would decorate with flowers the graves of those who had fallen in the Civil War. My mother always called it Decoration Day. I can remember my parents going to put flowers on their parents' graves on Decoration Day. Here I am, a couple hundred miles away from where my parents are buried so I cannot visit their graves. In truth, although I usually do visit their graves when I am in Kingston, I don't bring flowers, just tears of sadness, an ache in the heart that they are not able to watch their grandchildren growing into adulthood. My mother passed away in 1989, when Adam was almost 21 but Jennifer and Sean were only seven and four. Dad was with us two and a half years longer. Were they perfect parents? No, they were real human beings, not plaster saints... but they were truly loving parents... and very interesting people and I miss them very much.

Dad always put up the flag on holidays and I picked that up from him. I fly the flag today in honor of all those men and women who served our country... and every holiday that I fly the flag I feel a bit of closeness with my father.

At some point in late morning I went for a two mile run along the bike path... I really must get myself back into better shape, but this run felt good. I was tempted to do three or four miles, but I knew that hours of yard work lay ahead. Nancy and I did spend hours working on the yard. We have been planting around the house, putting in edging and some kind of high tech ground cover topped with cedar chip mulch... and planting various shrubs and flowers. I ache... my hands and my arms and my back... but we are beginning to see results and it looks good.

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