|My grill, photo by J. Berta.|
Soon, the Memorial Day weekend will be upon us. For some, it has already begun. For most, it is a three-day weekend. There is the running of the famed Indianapolis 500 race. I've heard it is one of the premiere sporting and spectator events in the world. Perhaps someday I may get to experience it.
The weather has finally, mercifully, gotten better. Two weeks ago I was in Wisconsin and embraced a cold I thought I would not feel until a football game in November. Now, it's north of 80 and sunny. Keep it coming, Momma Nature, keep it coming.
For me, one image comes to mind first and foremost: The grill. It is now warm enough to not only grill, but to also enjoy lingering around it. Judging by what I've been smelling recently around my neighborhood, I am not alone.
This weekend causes me to have mixed emotions. On the one hand, I am troubled that the meaning of the day (Memorial Day) is at least diluted, if not all but washed away with the collective euphoria of summer's start. In all fairness, this holiday t-bones at 50 mph the end of school/graduations/marriages/bachelor/bachelorette parties/and of course, grilling. My point is it is hard to be completely somber when all this fun is around us.
Thus lies the conflict.
The conflict being: How can we experience, less enjoy all this "fun" when the reason for this awesome holiday weekend is because so many others have weekends of any kind any more. So many fallen, so many wars.
I do not have a specific sources section for this post, just this one article from The New York Times on the history of Memorial Day: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/30/opinion/30blight.html?smid=fb-nytopinion&smtyp=cur
I haven't written any of my "bar stool" poetry for a while. I suppose I have not been motivated or perhaps (more likely) I've been lazy. In any event, I had this thought about the grill and Memorial Day in my head and I was able to get it out on paper. Here it is.
Far From The Grill
Far from the grill are they.
They cannot smell the food upon it, sizzling to perfection.
No cold beverage may they hold, or taste, or toast.
They cannot hear the children laugh, the music play.
They cannot see the flags flying, slow-dancing with the breeze.
They cannot sink their feet in spring-green grass,
Or warm sand on a volleyball court.
No, none of these things can they do.
For they are no longer of this place, of our world,
Once it was theirs too, yet no more.
No more since the musket cracked, the cannon boomed, the rocket screamed.
No more since the sickness came and would not pass.
No more since the demons stole their minds away.
They cannot share our food, our fun.
They cannot embrace this summer begun.
Instead, they rest.
Rest together, row on row,
Rest in coffins, buried below.
Free forever from their foe.
They died for us, for our way of life.
To spare us from their battlefield strife.
So that we may live in peace,
We have that peace, you and I.
We have our families and our lives.
We have comfort and we have joy.
We have these things and so much more!
So let us honor those who fell,
At battles famous and those unknown.
Who died so that we could have this day…
And all our days.
So take a moment this weekend to recall,
Those resting far from us,
Far from the grill indeed.
Be well my friends,