Memorial Day weekend.

Most years this milestone brings a great relaxation. In addition to the respectful aspect of honoring the military dead, Memorial Day is also the herald of the arrival of summer. The calendar may tell us that the season is a month away, but our hearts know better. The weather is warmer (in Texas read ‘hot’). The sunlight lasts longer. And the air becomes still with that lazy doldrum that begs for lemonade and ice cream. White slacks and seersucker can finally come out of storage.

This year, for many of us, the torpor has been around for two months or more, even if the weather has not cooperated. My dear friend in North Carolina told me that they had all four seasons in a week recently. In Michigan torrential rains and floods are blocking any relaxing feelings. They are still looking out for cold fronts high up in the Northeast. But warm weather or not, we have been frozen in a state of suspension by the need to shelter in place.

The biggest issue with this Memorial Day is the lack of contrast. As I’ve asked before, when every day is like Sunday, what do we do on the real Sunday? How will we be able to discern a holiday respite from other days when we have been locked inside in its advent?

For some, the answer is to not stay inside. Some beaches and parks are opening throughout the country and I am sure that I know people who are looking forward to as ‘normal’ a celebration as they can muster. There is nothing political in me commenting that it is far too soon, as tempting as it may be, to rush back into careless revelry. A beach or a park can be visited in a safe manner, but it is difficult to control other’s definition of safe.

For our part, we will stay in. My wife, who has been working at the hospital on her regular (if more anxious) schedule will have the day off and we will try as we might to capture the fleeting feeling of relaxation. Perhaps I will use the grill if I can disinter it from the winter’s junk in my garage. Maybe we can sit outside, a respectable social distance from others, and toast the passage of another milestone – each one bringing us closer to the times when the days are no longer a bland wash of sameness and the holidays regain their specialness.


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