Last weekend was Memorial Day in the US -- a day to remember all of those people who either by choice or by draft served and lost their lives fighting for what they believed were the values of the US. The idea of democracy, equality, opportunity, and the "pursuit of happiness"...seriously that is my FAVORITE ever document partially due to that line. If governments or individuals strayed from those principles it is to their dishonor especially as we remember these fallen heroes. The principles are still there and many, many people everywhere still believe they are the destiny that we need to keep going as a world - not through world domination, subjugation but through opportunity, democracy and the ability to do be happy.
This solemn occasion brings with it, as many solemn occasions do - think post-funeral gatherings where food, laughs and warmth are needed to reaffirm our mortality and to honor the dead through living and remembering them via laughter - something that is total fluff. It is the unofficial start of summer. Now for this girl who is cold, too much, this long, lengthy winter needed to end. Last week was supposed to be that frozen toe dip in the ocean, that tshirt on top of bathing suit while I read at the beach moment but ... but.. noooo it was sooo cold on the East Coast that toe was frozen until sock was put on. It was grey, it was chilly it was post Labor Day not Memorial Day. It was easy to jokingly ask where is our global warming (before you find the need to explain it to me I understand that the unusual weather patters, including the cold are part of it). It was movie time, indoor time, walk in the cold because kids are too restless in house for this much time - time. Yet it was still the unofficial start of summer and some sun did come, the beach still was magnificent (in our sweaters, driving by, windows down smelling that ocean air that makes me so happy).
This week we went from that to 90s -- humidity battling my overpriced chemically induced anti-Medusa hair straightener , I sweat unlike some girls and my eyeliner could have been my lip liner on some days (or on the rare occasion when one of the Medusa curls did spring, coiled and hissing - did I just start singing REO Speedwagon ? of course I did - I guess my eyeliner and hair was punk girl circa 1981). All of this and I LOVE IT. I love summer - I love barbecues, kids playing outside, the sound of that ice cream truck that elicits a Pavolovian salivation with cries for "Mom I need money", and the beach. The glorious beach - the beach that I never get tired of even in a sweater. It is a time for summer reading and for kids to do countdown to last of day of school. It is time for vacations and clothes that get some people hot looking at you while keeping you cool.
So it makes sense to me that Memorial Day, with it's solemn premise (read the way it started because it is fascinating - Civil War - African-American soldiers) is actually the perfect unofficial start to summer where we enjoy that pursuit of happiness (whether in an air conditioned spot, under a tree, in the water, or just not having to trudge home after work in the dark). Honor those who believed in the democracy and promise of a country formed not by history but it's lack of it and enjoy the lazy, hazy days of summer.