Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Yesteryear Memories

Traditionally on Memorial Day, our friends gather together to celebrate the start of the summer season. Warm greetings, friendly conversations, and a barbecue at the Rockville Links always make for a festive occasion that usually centers on past memories and family news. Friendships developed over the past thirty years remind us of the strong bond that exists among our group of friends.

Despite the grayness in the sky, the weather cooperated enough to allow us to stroll outside on the grounds as we remembered so many good times over the years. The addition of a firepit overlooking the golf course provided a new venue to relax while recalling our memories: swim meets, championships, sportsmanship awards, and countless dinners and barbecues. Years flashed before us as my family and friends talked about the many good times. 

Then, the conversation drifted back to why we were gathering together. While Memorial Day is the day to kickoff the summer season, it is also a day to honor the past and the many American heroes. Our conversation led to talk of battles that the older generation witnessed, medals won, and ceremonies that celebrate heroism.

My son and I spoke of his Grandpa Manny, a simple man with a big heart who cared deeply for his family and his country. Life in the early part of the 20th Century was different than today for this man. Because of his commitment to family, when Manny's father was killed he had to leave school at the end of 8th grade to become the breadwinner of the family. Shortly after that time in his life, World War II began and many young men rushed to enlist. Manny chose the Navy because he heard that the food was better. We laughed about that and my husband added that his father was not even a good swimmer. Manny's naval career took him around the world and opened his eyes to places that a young man from Brooklyn had never thought he would see in his lifetime. Conversation then moved to another New Yorker whom we refer to as Uncle Horace. While in his nineties, Uncle Horace remains sprite and always recounts for us the many honors he received as a veteran. Two men with two stories about being part of the American experience brought us back to a focal point of our Memorial Day gathering.  

One story led to another during yesterday's barbecue. The day ended with another memory being established for the start of the 2016 summer season. 

What memories did you make this Memorial Day Weekend?

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