Here it is, Memorial Day weekend already! Boy do the days whiz by faster and faster when one isn’t paying attention. Thankfully, I belong to a number of public service and military organizations that keep track of those things for me, reminding me via emails and phone calls that it’s time to put up the flags again. All of those people involved know I need that kind of reminding. Some go to the extremes of telling Diane because they, for sure, know I’ll show up. She never forgets stuff like that.
The American Legion, Post 42, is one of the groups I work with. We support the veteran community in a variety of ways but the most humbling, to me, is when we place American flags on the graves of our fallen Military Veterans on holidays like this one. We go out in groups of two, or three, sometimes accompanied by a Boy Scout, with a list, the flags, and a device to poke a hole where the flag needs to go. We don’t rush, but with a large group an amazing number of flags can be placed in short order.
The first effort took place on Friday morning at the Yankton Cemetery out on Pittsburgh Road. There are actually two cemeteries there, on either side of the road, one really old, and the other just old. Many of the birthdays go back to the mid 1800’s and we put flags on many WW-I vet’s graves. My helper during this evolution was a young boy whose grandfather is one of the scout leaders. About mid-point in our efforts he decided the flag hole poker would make a good javelin. We had a talk and finished our assignment.
Yesterday morning we placed flags at Bethany Memorial Cemetery in Warren, next to our church. During this session, Roger, Bill and I went together. I was in charge of the list, Bill was the poker, and Roger placed the flags.
As we made the rounds I pointed out those too whom my lovely bride is related. She was raised in Warren and I’ve always contended that most of the people in Warren are related and that was revealed to Roger and Bill and we progressed. It’s quite amazing to see the connections to Diane and they were duly impressed.
After finishing our flags we stopped to visit with an older couple who were cleaning up their relatives’ stones. Names were exchanged, which I promptly forgot, but when I brought up my theory about everyone in Warren being related, and that Diane is related to the Kallberg and West families.
Upon hearing this, the lady said, “Mel!” to which I replied, “yes, Mel West is my wife’s uncle. Did you know his brother, Gib, who was the local state cop a long time ago?”
“No,” she said, “but I remember Judge Kallberg.”
“It’s Judge Kalbearer,” I replied, “not Kallberg.”
“Oh,” she said, “that’s right.”
“I know that’s true,” I added, “because my brother’s wife worked for him her entire career.”
“Wynette,” she exclaimed! “I know her!”
“Jack!” said her husband. “I worked with him at the Deer Island chemical plant for years.”
“Hmmm,” said I, as I turned to my friends. “See, we’re all related. Well, maybe not all related to each other, as in real relatives, but related in some way.”
Then the guy said, “DeLonais.”
“That’s my Father-in-law,” I exclaimed! “I know him! Mel DeLonais!”
“Jean,” the lady said. “Isn’t his wife Jean?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said, relieved that this was all finally coming out into the open.
With a solid sigh, we bid them adieu, and began the trek back to our respective vehicles. On the way we had a very clear view of the entire cemetery festooned with flowers and flags. It always amazes me how many flags there are. It’s actually a very beautiful and moving sight, knowing there were so many who served their county over the years.
Back at the truck, which I drove to the cemetery, something I didn’t mention previously, I noticed that the headlights were still on so I immediately invoked the emergency rule about no one leaving until I discovered if I could, or not, get the truck started. Before trying, however, I simply turned the lights off and let it rest while we all talked about pretty much everything in the world.
It was good to solve the “things’ that we perceive to be wrong with the world. If only people would listen to us.
After all that ‘solving’ activity, I went home. When I arrived I found Diane standing in the garage, tapping her duster in the palm of her left hand, and was immediately directed to get the vacuum cleaner. Apparently we were going to conduct a good old navy field day.
Then she said hello and administered to me the obligatory greeting kiss, which is the same as the obligatory parting kiss, but different.
I couldn’t find the vacuum cleaner in its customary parking spot in the garage until Diane pointed it out. It was, of course, in plain sight. I took it in the living room and was told to move all the furniture away from the walls so I could suck up the bad stuff gathered there. I did as directed and did such a good job that the furniture moving evolution escalated to the point where everything was moved to a new location. We do this once or twice a year and I’m OK with it because it’s a far better alternative to either moving or purchasing new furniture. Just putting it in a different spot in the living room serves the purpose of making it look like new. Doesn’t cost anything, either. Just a little sweat and a few strained muscles.
We ended yesterday evening by selecting our new places to sit in the new arrangement. This is an important task because it determines where we will be located while eating pretty much every meal. It’s got to be the right angle so we can see each other, our food trays, and the TV without straining our eyes.
This morning I was forced awake by Ozzie around 0600. I sense he had been trying to wake me for a while because he was pretty active. He was happy to get out where he and Panzee made a mad dash to the yard, did their thing, then quickly returned to the back door seeking admittance so they could consume their treasured pouch food. Then I assumed my prone position on the couch recliner and promptly went back to sleep until Diane woke me around 0945 asking if I was staying home or going to church. I chose to stay home.
I did absolutely nothing for the next 3 hours.
After church was over, Diane returned home with her Mom, Jean, and two bags of Safeway Deli Chinese food for lunch. It was awesome. There was enough left over for Mom to take home for lunch tomorrow.
Then Jennifer, Cedric, Lydia, and Jeran arrived for a visit. Well, everyone but Lydia was there for a visit. Lydia needed to use the computer to work on some school tasks. The rest of us visited.
Now it’s late afternoon, and we’re waiting for Jack and Wynette to drop by for a visit. That will be entertaining.
It always is.