Friday, May 28, 2010

appreciation of american holidays

well, memorial day weekend is here.  in our house, that means ... well, not much, really.  hubby, apart from being a published author, freelance writer and editor, is also a reporter for the local paper and he is working monday, so we'll do our grillin' on sunday instead.  our son, nick, is the grill master.  the kid just loves grilling, what can i say?   he'll be out there, ipod hooked up to the speakers on the deck, tongs in hand, completely in his element.  i just love watching the whole joyful spectacle of it!!  of course, the prep work falls to me and  i love it! choice of foods is anything but exotic, but you can count on ribs, burgers and shrimp being on the menu. 

I guess that being an immigrant, it took me a while to understand the significance of the various american holidays, and i think memorial day was the first uniquely american holiday i experienced after arriving in the country almost  fourteen years ago.  we were living in florida at the time and we drove up to jupiter and had lunch at one of those key-westy-waterside-quay type restaurants.  afterwards, we ended up at the jupiter lighthouse and there was this massive picnic going on, with about a million flags.  everywhere you looked, people were decked out in the colors and i was really impressed.  hey, i'm from south africa ... we did things differently back there, ok? 

over the years, i have come to deeply appreciate the significance of the holidays americans celebrate.  without a doubt, thanksgiving is my favorite.  i just love the whole pilgrim thing!!  i love decorating the house when fall rolls around, all with thanksgiving in mind.  i do, however, recall a rather disastrous pumpkin episode in west palm beach.  we had just returned from a trip to philadelphia, and having seen all the pumpkins so beautifully displayed on porch steps in the suburbs of philly, and fallen completely in love with the idea, i dutifully went out and bought the largest pumpkin i could find and proudly put it outside, next to the front door. 

oh gosh, anyone from florida is probably falling off their chair laughing at me by now, but hey, i was new to the tradition and still fairly new to the country.  how was i to know that within 72 hours, the pumpkin would be a steaming, rotten, stinking mess, crawling with ants and bugs that seemed to have migrated specifically to my garden with the firm intent of feeding on said rotten pumpkin???  my sons friends eventually did the whole 'kick the cr@p outta the pumpkin' thing before i had a chance to get out there and clean it up.  let me tell you, rotten-insect-fed-upon pumpkin is one of the vilest smelling things on the planet.  there was NO pumpkin on the thanksgiving menu that first year, i assure you!

back to memorial day: i want to wish everyone a wonderful memorial day weekend. drive safely. and above all, let's not forget WHY and in whose honor we celebrate this day. thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all our troops who so gallantly serve this nation and its people.

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