Happy Memorial Day?

 


    I wonder how many of you say that without realizing the last Monday in May is really not about the unofficial start of summer?

    NOTE:  Okay, I’ll grant you that June, July, and August are pretty cold in the Southern Hemisphere, which sounds like a crappy deal for our friends down under.  Until you stop to consider they also don’t have Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

    NOTE FOLLOWING A NOTE:  That last sentence is sure to tick off both sides of the aisle.  You’re welcome.

    On the other hand, Australia does have Olivia Newton-John.  Well, did.  Well, they do have Steve Irwin.  What?  Oh, eff.  Forget it.  Mate.  

    Lost among the hoopla of backyard barbecues blissfully free of Bud Light, fireworks (for those looking to get a jump on Independence Day...and their neighbors’ nerves), trips to Jersey beaches (to watch the annual washing ashore of mob hits), and tropical storms (in Florida) is the true purpose behind Memorial Day.

"It's Clydesdale piss which identifies as beer."

    Decoration Day, recognition of those who gave their lives in the Civil War, was proclaimed on May 5th, 1868, by General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic (“Grand.”  Well, weren’t they all full of themselves?).  Planned for May 30th, it drew former foes together to plant flowers and otherwise spruce up graves of war dead from North and South alike at Arlington National Cemetery.

The only civil war in American history. 
 Unless there's a sequel, of course.

"That's kinda depressing."

    NOTE: Which, incidentally, is on the site of Robert E. Lee’s home.  Don’t try to tell me the North couldn’t be vindictive pricks.

    To be sure, women in the South were also “decorating” gravesites of their dead from the “Great Cause,” when they weren’t saying “Bless your heart” or “Kiss my grits.”  In fact, some sources state that those practices even predated the end of the war.  What’s more, some states in Dixie even had their own Decoration Days, mostly in May.

"Lemme ask you, you think Scarlett O'Hara would ever do this?"
"Right?  She's so full of shit."
"Bless her heart."
"Exactly."

 
    NOTE:  For my non-American friends (and products of the public school system), the American Civil War (or “War of Northern Aggression”-sheesh, those people can really hold a grudge.  At least they weren’t vindictive pricks, though.) took place between 1861 and 1865 between the “North” and the “South.”  I could bore you with the whys, whens, and whats about one of our most horrific conflicts (this side of a college campus), but I won’t.  Let’s just put it this way:  a lot of people died and the blue team won.  Oh, and it wasn’t technically a “civil” war.  Because, let’s face it, there’s nothing civil about getting your head blown off by a cannon ball.

"Hey, General Burnside, doesn't it bother you that some of the men are wearing what they call 'sideburns?' 
"Naw.  Could be worse."
"Worse?  How?"
"Well, I could be General Hooker."


    Decoration Day remained an observance of Civil War dead up until after the First World War.  Following one of history’s most idiotic conflicts (which didn’t end up being the “war to end all wars” after all.  Dumbasses.), it was decided that May 30th would be set aside to honor all American war dead.

    NOTE:  And those who lost their lives during peacetime in service to their country.

    The name, however, stuck until it officially changed to Memorial Day in 1967.  No matter what it was called, though, Americans throughout the nation took time to honor the fallen.

    What seemed to many a civic duty began to fade after Congress passed the Holiday Act of 1971.  An effort to consolidate some federal holidays into three-day weekends, it shifted Memorial Day to the last Monday in May.  The inexorable transformation from solemn tribute to summertime bacchanal had begun.

    I try my best not to be a crank about the avalanche of car commercials, barbecue tips shows, or “ABBA to ZZ Top-The Memorial Countdown of the 500 Most Popular Hits of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and Whatever the Frik We Call the First Decade of the 21st Century!”  It’s hard not to get caught up in the hype of a country poised at the brink of gloriously warm weather (sorry, Aussies) and summer reruns.  Hey, I like to walk around with my shirt off and scare wildlife like any other middle-aged guy.

    Still, I remember when Memorial Day used to be about the Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, and Coast Guardsman.  Parades, wreath-layings, air shows, flag-raisings:  those were what I remember.

Or whatever the frik it is these nerds are called.


    But, if I think back really hard (that sounds dirty), I also remember my shirtless father (I’m still in therapy) incinerating hot dogs from Shop Rite on the grill while listening to Best of the Ventures on his 8-Track player.  All while we played fetch with our dog-using my little brother’s bathing suit.  With my little brother still in it.

"Okay, kids, who wants dogs?  Dad's charring them!"

    When we weren’t playing catch with the Lawn Darts, that is.

    Ahhhhh, good times.

We are going to miss Uncle Chet, though.

    So, when I get up Monday morning, I’m going to fly my flag before heading off to see the Memorial Day parade.  I’ll place my hand over my heart when the national anthem is played at the wreath-laying.  And hang on to every word spoken by a veteran from either the American Legion or the VFW.

    Then, I’ll go home to see if I can cook a hot dog better than my dad.

    Now that I think of it, I guess the saying fits:

    Happy Memorial Day!

    Still, never forget it should also be Blessed Memorial Day.

    Two things can be true at the same time, ya know.

    Like Joe Biden and Donald Trump can both be old geezers who suck.       

Happy Easter!

    If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'd know that today is Orthodox Catholic Easter.  And you'd know why.  I'm not going to educate you as to its origins.  If you want to know, go back and read my earlier posts.  Or not.  In fact,  you may not even be reading this now.  If not, who am I writing to?
"You think we can get Easter candy on sale?"
"Seriously, Greg?  You're still using that old joke?"
"Not funny?"
"Once.  Now, it's no better than when Al keeps using 'when the moon is in its summer house' joke."



"And Jupiter aligns with Mars!"


    


    Anyway...

    A month ago, I was talking to my wife about the early Spring holidays.  Me, being Roman Catholic, commented that MY Easter happened on March 31st which had something to do with the moon.

"A planet made of gas."

    If you don't know, like I said, earlier posts....

    She, being Jewish, remarked that Passover would be a week after that.

    Ball of gas thing.  Again.

    But,  Russian, Ukrainian, Greek, and others will observe Orthodox Easter today, May 5th.

    I'm not sure who all.  At any rate, it's all Greek to me.




   Then, she told me that Mexico will also celebrate on the same day.

   NOTE:  I swear I said this.

   "Huh,"  I commented, "I didn't know Mexicans observed Orthodox Easter."

    She stared at me and deadpanned,  "Cinco de Mayo."

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.....................................

    So, for those who celebrate that, Happy Cinco de Mayo (it's pretty much an American excuse to get sloshed at places like Las Palmas).

    But, hey, fish tacos, salsa, and Dos Equis.

"Murica.  Ole."

   And to those Mexicans celebrating Easter today, I'm sorry, the chocolate bunnies have either been sold or put up for next year.





Happy Independence Day!

     Or "Fourth of July" to the rest of the world.     Yes, yes, sigh, I know.  Many other countries, other than the United State...