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Memorial Day

Yesterday I had no graves to visit, although we recently unearthed some family documents that indicate approximately where my uncle is buried in France. (He was killed in action near the end of World War II. Um, yes, that was before I was born. Thanks for asking.) I wish to visit his grave on some future Memorial Day.

Hawaiian shirt, steel guitar. Absolutely no connection, I swear.

We reconnected with some old friends last year who have hosted an annual Memorial Day party/jam session for literally decades. The last one I attended was almost twenty years ago, so I was looking forward to renewing a lot of acquaintances, hearing some good music, and, of course, consuming mass quantities. I wasn't there five minutes when the call went out from the “bandstand” (their patio) for a drummer. I slouched lower in my chair, but clearly there was no one else qualified in the house. I ended up playing most of the next three hours. Criminy. And I thought drummers were a dime a dozen. Turns out it’s singers who are a dime a dozen; I think there were seven.

Although I was having fun playing, the smell of the grill was driving me crazy, and I finally found a chance to grab a bite. There was an awesome variety of food—and lots of it. The invitation requested that all “bring a dish that will feed 10 people.” If you do the math, it’s clear that there would be quite a surplus. We took home not only about half of what we brought with us, but also a tray of marinated chicken. Here I thought I was working for peanuts, but I’ll take chicken anytime. All in all, it was a great day. I did see a lot of old friends... and their children... and their grandchildren. Yikes.

It was dark when we got home and I, in the warm peacefulness of the evening, shared a contemplative moment with the stars as I furled the flag.

Comments

it's like you were dressed to play in the band. did the two on guitars not get the memo?

Albert, apparently they didn’t. It was like herding cats. First wardrobe offense gets a warning, but fines and other sanctions get pretty steep after that. We were quite the motley crüe in our random outfits.

Tony, you look like you were having a great time. I wish I could play an instrument well enough to participate in a jam session. I, of course, would be one of the people volunteering to sing. Not very well, mind you, but I'd do it anyway. Hmm, maybe you could have used dancers, sort of the like the Beach Boys have (although I think that's to distract people from their aging reality). Anyway, looks like fun.

And I got the rare opportunity to hear and watch you play, which was fun for me. Sipping a festive beverage, munching on picnic food, and watching the session unfold is a bit better than helping you load the drums into the car on a Saturday night before you drive off in your tux for a private-party gig. I'm glad you brought the camera!

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