Cameron and I are planting flowers in the cemetery. Purple petunias for my grandmother lying beneath my busy hands, she loved purple, she was buried in purple. I turn to see that three-year-old girl waving several flags that she collected from several grave sites. "I pwedge allegiance to the fwag," little, soft, sweet voice, those consonant blends are hard for toddlers' tongues.
I love a parade, especially the marching bands, but would it kill them to play a Sousa march and not You Light Up My Life . . . My father is the oldest Marine in the local league and he will ride in an open convertible at the Memorial Day parade and he is not happy about this, not a guy who craves attention. A younger soldier will be sitting in another car and he had his legs blown off while on a rescue mission in Afghanistan. The local paper showed the President shaking his hand still in the hospital bed and the boy's father was standing next to him and I can't forget the look on his face, a tight blank expression, angry with pressed lips, never to see his son enjoying life fully-limbed. We can't keep doing this to our children.
Tonight we attend a festival that features catfish dinners and local musicians and I bought ride bracelets for the grandchildren. During Tilt-a-Whirl I asked the carnie to stop the ride, the nine-year-old had turned green. Could have been the cotton candy, popcorn or the hot pink bubblegum snow cone that made his belly go sour but he recovered quickly and was soon munching on a hot dog.The boys are surrounded by swirling insane rides but what do they want to do? Throw my money away on those damn games being pedaled by vultures disguised as greasy-looking carnies. I hand over some dollars and we walk away with a dart-shooting gun, six gold fish and a five-foot inflatable Spongebob bat.
And it's summer again, let's launch it.