Memorial Day is a big deal around our house.
Our town holds a parade every year and it is quite possibly one of the greatest small-town events in the state... maybe even the country. It reeks of small town America, with the sports teams, Girl and Boy Scouts, churches, Fire and Police departments and town politicians marching along with the bagpipers, fife and drum corps, the High School band and the VFW members. If you've lived in the town as long as I have, you know a good 60% of the people marching, and the other 40% of people you know are sitting on the sidelines, watching it all happen.
It is a huge event for us as a family; years ago, before I had kids, I saw a family all wearing matching red, white and blue shirts to the parade and as soon as we had a family I started that tradition. Every May I go searching for our shirts, this year bought from Target, and we also now wear matching red, white and blue nail polish and some sort of patriotic- themed tattoos. (Interesting side note: the tattoos I bought this year were from WalMart and were raised jewel tattoos in the shape of an American flag. There were specific instructions on the back: "Do not apply to your eyeball." I laughed about that all day and felt VERY sorry for the poor not-very-bright person who DID apply it to their eyeball, necessitating the instructions.) Yeah, we go all out.
Jenna sporting with the Hartle Girls before the parade starts.
The excitement jacked up a notch two years ago, when Michaela marched for the first time in the parade with her Girl Scout troop. She was thoroughly mortified by the screaming, cheering and catcalls we made as she walked by and we have since had to promise her that we'd tone it down. Michaela marched again this year, but ducked out when she reached where we were sitting so she could enjoy both marching and watching with us. And so we didn't have to search for her at the end with the 25,000 other parents looking for their Girl Scout, Boy Scout, soccer player or little league slugger. It was a great compromise.
We were joined this year by my brother Brian and Beth and the adorable Miss Kate. They love the parade as much as we do. When Brian and I were kids, we went to the parade and then went to our friends the Day's house (they lived close enough to walk to the parade route) afterwards for a picnic. Those days are one of the rose-glassed, golden-edged memories from my childhood.
We went after this year's parade to our friends the Hartles' house, where we enjoyed a wonderful BBQ. Then we meandered over to my parents' house where the grill was hot and the pool was luke. (A Meet The Parents reference there, if anyone caught it.) Michaela and Jenna hit the pool like it had never been closed.
Of course it helped that the weather was STUNNINGLY gorgeous... sunny and warm and not a trace of humidity. It was a beautiful, relaxing, fun, friend-and-family-filled day. And to think that next year, our little man will be able to join us!