MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, 2012

What a beautiful sunny weekend we had. In central Maine, the black flies are pretty much gone, and the weather was perfect for working outdoors or for having a barbecue to kick off the summer season, which is all too short in my estimation.

On Sunday, our daughter Shannon and her husband, Mike, joined us for a barbecue and an afternoon on the patio, one of our favorite places to be when the weather is good. This year, we decided to go light with the appetizers. Our family is plagued with high blood sugar and high cholesterol, and we are doing what we can to modify our diets. We’re not fanatical—we like chips and dip as well as the next family—but we have all decided to eat healthy food most of the time, with occasional indulgences so that we don’t feel deprived.

Accordingly, the appetizers consisted of nuts, fruits and berries, and grilled bread. (Add a salad, and you’d have a very satisfying meal.) We all agreed that the appetizers were perfect, and I plan on doing the same thing for other gatherings we have this summer.

Unfortunately, it is a little too early for local fruit and berries, so the ones we had for Sunday’s barbecue all came from away, as we Mainers like to say.

However, our salad not only featured Maine lettuce, but it also had some of Farmer Kev’s beautiful radishes. And, the pork chops that Mike, Shannon, and my husband, Clif, ate came from The Farmers’ Gate Market, a nearby shop that specializes in local meat. (I’ll be writing about the the pork chops and The Farmers’ Gate Market for the next post.)

While Memorial Day’s big thrust is to remember and honor those who have served in the military, it is also a time to remember all those who have passed. In our backyard, we have a memorial bench for Clif’s mother and my mother, and both mothers’ ashes have been scattered behind the bench, where the ferns grow. (My mother thought it would be a lovely resting place, and she specifically asked to have her ashes scattered among the ferns and trees.) On Monday, I planted some impatiens in big pots, which will add a burst of color to the deep green around the bench.

Clif and I have come to think of that bench as a memorial to all the family members who have passed, which means there is always some sadness around Memorial Day as we remember our mothers, our fathers, and other relatives who were dear to us. In my remembrances, I always include my good friend Barbara Johnson, who was much too young when she died seven years ago.

Well, to be mourned is to be loved, and it is good to have day that focuses our thoughts on those who have passed. It is especially appropriate to have Memorial Day in the spring, when life is emerging from its winter’s rest, a reminder that life continues, and we are part of that continuum.

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