Memorial Day. I remember camp trips and snow. I remember pulling out the tents and mattresses, dusty, dirt-covered belongings that had hibernated in the garage for many long months, soon to make their debut seasonal appearance on a weekend that we in Wyoming always willed to be warm but that rarely was.
I remember Mom planting flaming orange and yellow magnolias in the flower boxes near the house. Then, I remember her saying a prayer that those sunshiney plants would survive any remaining cold nights.
I remember talk of frost – when would it finally go away to give reign to true summer? I remember staying glued to television weather reports, trying hard to discern whether to attempt a weekend camp trip or forego it.
I remember treating the long weekend as wild adventure, loading up the camp gear and heading for the low mountains, packing plenty of wool socks and long underwear. I remember pitching tents in snow flurries. I remember the pure goodness of hot meals over the weekend – goulash in the Dutch oven, Bear Creek brand soup.
We slept in snow storms. On cold Sunday mornings, we rose and brushed the feathery white snow off the firewood, the cooler (why did we stock it with ice, again?), the bed of the truck. Then, we would assess: Do we stay in this wilderness another two days, or do we go home to hot chocolate and movies?
Sometimes we stayed. Sometimes we returned home (though never without a good story to tell).
I remember the painting I created in art class, Karly Konicek and I roasting marshmallows around a bright orange campfire with neon blue mountains spiking up in the background. The picture came out of a Memorial Day weekend memory. It is still propped up against an aspen bookshelf in my dad’s study.
This Memorial Day weekend, we look out at the hazy mountains of western California. A trip to San Francisco with a toddler and another baby on the way was in the works. But it got too hard, too expensive.
Now, we are revising our plan. Still creating an adventure – just one that won’t require quite so much walking for me at seven months pregnant, won’t include a boxy hotel room with just one double bed (a Priceline flounder), one that will allow more freedom and ease on our pocketbooks.
The weather looks grey and borderline chilly – in the ‘60s. (I smile at that, thinking of ‘60s as “chilly” coming from such long Wyoming winters that so often extended into May.) We still look toward adventure. It’s just an adventure of a different sort.
This morning, as I drove our son to daycare, I noticed city workers mounting American flags to light poles. Red, white and blue. It is because of our hard-fought freedom, the selfless acts of so many servicemen and women, that we even have the opportunity to consider such adventure in the first place.
Let us not take that for granted as the long weekend opens up before us, whatever adventure (or non-adventure) is headed our way.
Find me back here next Thursday, with the adventure report. In the meantime, tell me what adventures you and yours are up to in the coming days.