Growing up in Wyoming Memorial Day was THAT day, the one point fixed in time, the date on the calendar, the spot on the winter road map that we all collectively looked forward to like deer panting for a clear spring of water…ALL WINTER LONG. We suffered the wind, the chill, the snow shoveling, the layers of sweaters, jackets, and winter coats, did I mention the wind, the cold and flu season, the frost-covered windows, the endless scraping of our car windshields, and strapping on of our mukluks (or Sorels), to drudge through slush and muck, to drive with white knuckes on ice-covered roadways not just to go to work for months on end, but for that one quart of milk or roll of toilet paper from the grocery store, waiting, waiting, anxiously, feverishly, for THAT weekend.
Memorial Day meant finally being able to open a window, leave a door ajar, plant our gardens, take that camping trip, or fire up the 4-wheelers and just GOOOOOOOOO!!! It meant finally being able to grill something and be outdoors (before the bugs woke up). Unfortunately, more often than not, it also usually means rain. Substantial rain. Suffocating, dampening rain and a fairly miserable outdoor excursion at the lake or in the mountains or wherever we had chosen to go. If it doesn’t rain all weekend on Memorial weekend it is a rare thing indeed, but one we are all willing to suffer.
Its funny how your perspective changes with geography. Now that we live in Texas, Memorial weekend kind of marks the end of our outdoor adventuressness, or mine anyway. Down here in the sweltering and humid south I’m sick of mowing my lawn by the end of May. For heavens sakes, the lawn mowing never ends here, but is on steroids for sure, starting about March, and is that incessant, needy, drama queen neighbor that’s knocking on your door about every three days (for crying out loud) in this part of the country, in the spring. The wildflowers are pretty much done by the end of May, if they came out at all, and the days, usually, are really starting to steam up and get HOT. It’s like a saaaaawnah up in here. Memorial weekend now, rather marks that time of year when I blow kisses to my garden and wish it luck. The birds and bugs have eaten the fruit on my trees. The tomatoes have begun looking kind of sickly by now, along with the lettuce, kale, and spinach. About the only thing in my garden that looks happy are the jalapenos, serranos, and green chilies. I’m sick to death of pulling weeds, and don’t even get me started on the chore that lives on our river bank.
So, Memorial weekend I now start packing it in. Of course we (hubbie/family) still commemorate the holiday with a quick toss of something on the BBQ and of course proudly fly our stars-and-stripes (and cherish in our hearts every service person living or passed away, in our family or our nation, who has given their time or life to the freedoms of this beautiful country), but yeah…I’m done trying to acclimate. These south Texas summers are pretty tough on an old Wyoming girl.
This Memorial holiday was different.
I believe it will go down in the history books for record rains (both in Wyoming and Texas). The flooding, mud, and rock slides in the Wind River Canyon. The enormous losses of life and property in Austin, Wimberley, San Antonio, and Houston (please say a prayer for each one of those poor people). Memorial weekend 2015 has been “epic” — not to volley that word around too flippantly.
We were lucky. Because of the last several years of severe drought, the little river that runs by our place was thirsty, waiting, and ready for the 12 inches of swelling rain that fell leading up to this weekend. She received it, and was pregnant all the way up to her neck, but not out of her banks on our side, thank heavens. The waters that made their way down to us raged angrily through her narrow channel, crashing past with fury and swooping up everything loose in its path. Our fire pit area was swept over and five feet under. Our picnic table washed away. All the firewood we had chopped and neatly stacked…GONE…all GONE! A fire extinguisher and our ice chest disappeared. It was a small small small loss compared to some others.
Mother Nature traded us our nice, big stack of cut up firewood for a nice, big, new “project,” and gave us two giant logs to sit on for the crappy little lawn chairs we had. And LOOK, the fire pit rocks are all still there — even the little pebbles in between. 🙂
As I roll up my sleeves (and swat mosquitoes) and go to work clearing the virtual dam off of my little hang-out, I will have every family out there who lost everything (including their lives) in my heart. With every stick I pry loose and sort out into new piles of kindling, firewood, and new seating, I will say a prayer for those looking for pictures in the mud, sweeping a river out of their living rooms, or with no place at all to live.
“When the fig tree does not bud,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
when the olive trees do not produce,
and the fields yield no crops;
when the sheep disappear from the pen,
and there are no cattle in the stalls,
I will rejoice because of the LORD;
I will be happy because of the God who delivers me.
The sovereign LORD is my source of strength.
He gives me the agility of a deer;
he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain.” — Habakkuk 3:17-19
“But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess.” — 1 Peter 3:15
God bless you all. And God bless Texas.