Today is probably a good day to re-watch the movie 1776 – or listen to the original cast recording of Hamilton. More likely both. Both are stories about the beginning of what was sometimes called the “American Experiment” – as in the experiment of democracy. It was kind of a new thing in the late 1700s.
If you are wondering whether that experiment may have run its course this Independence Day, you’re not alone.
Once upon a time, it was glorious. Flawed, often extremely so, but glorious all the same. I think we’re all going to miss it if it’s gone.
Today’s hop celebrates dads everywhere, and is scheduled to end just before Father’s Day is celebrated in the U.S. So just in time for the winners to either give their prizes to dad or use the gift cards they win to get a gift for dad. (Or to keep for yourownself if you are the dad!)
And for those of us who have lost their dads, a time to remember them – not that we don’t on plenty of other days.
But this hop is for all those great dads out there, whether their children are human or feline or canine or feathered or scaled or any or all of the above!
The question in the rafflecopter is “If money (and reality) were ignored, what gift would you most want to give your dad?” I think I’d give mine flying lessons. My dad joined the U.S. Army Air Corps just after WW2 because he wanted to learn to fly. He was honorably discharged after six months because he could fly just fine, but he couldn’t land the plane on visual. Dad had no depth perception, so he just couldn’t find the ground reliably – at least not until gravity slammed the plane, and himself, and the poor instructor, into the ground. When my dad passed away, my mother discovered that he had been taking flying lessons – again – and just hadn’t told her. I can’t say that I was surprised about either part of that, that he was trying again, or that he hadn’t mentioned it.
Today is Memorial Day in the United States. Based on the Wikipedia article, the exact history of this holiday is still up for debate. But then, isn’t everything these days.
It seems to have begun as Decoration Day, a day to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. And it seems to have “officially” been set to May 30 after the U.S. Civil War. Needless to say, that was observed differently between the North and South in the late 19th century.
In the (not quite) end, all of the various Decoration Day and Memorial Day observances coalesced into one day, May 30, to become Memorial Day, to honor the sacrifice of all soldiers who fell in uniform regardless of which war (or not) they fell in.
And things stayed that way until the whole “Monday Holiday” thing, otherwise known as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, moved four holidays from their traditional dates of observance to their nearest convenient Monday in order to create 3-day weekends and boost tourism. So here we are, many, but not all of us able to celebrate the unofficial start of summer.
But that’s not how this all began, and not how it should be remembered. Today is Memorial Day, a day set aside to honor the fallen. And so we should.
If you have today off as a paid holiday – or if you are working today but get a paid day later to make up for it, or if you get time and a half or doubletime for working today, it’s thanks to the labor movement that is celebrated today.
And if you don’t, that might be thanks to the way that the labor movement has been beaten back in recent years.
Today also marks the unofficial end of summer in the United States, even though the lines between seasons have gotten much blurrier over the years. School used to start after Labor Day and now it starts before. Football season still officially begins, but baseball season used to be winding down towards the playoffs about this point. Now the regular season has another month to run before the playoffs, and the World Series doesn’t begin until the end of October.
But still, no matter what else is happening, or what the weather is doing, Labor Day still marks the beginning of the end. The year always feels like its winding down from this point.
If you have a three-day weekend, be sure to enjoy the last gasp of summer. After all, it’s only 58 days to Halloween!
To those in the United States, Happy Fourth of July. So as not to be completely remiss, to those in Canada, a belated Happy Canada Day.
Now that I’ve lured you in with a picture of Independence Day fireworks, I’m going to share a different picture. This has been going around on Facebook for a few days, and I think we all need the reminder.
I check the box for immigrants. All four of my grandparents came to the United States from Eastern Europe in the early 20th century. I only exist because they fled to the this country before the Holocaust. All of my family who did not leave died in the concentration camps.
My husband’s family has been here a bit longer. On one side, he has ancestors who fought in the American Revolution. On the other, Scots-Irish who came to the U.S. just after the Civil War. But he is still the descendant of immigrants.
And whether or not you are also able to tick off some of the other boxes on that short list, so are you.
On the one hand, for most of us, today is a happy day. Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. marks the unofficial start of summer. And it’s a three-day weekend, and for those of us who get to take the whole thing off, three-day weekends are always excellent.
On that oh-so-infamous other hand, the holiday we are celebrating is not technically happy. Memorial Day was set aside to honor all those who served our country, and who fell while wearing its uniform.
Today I’d like to welcome Kristan Higgins, the author of the recent Now That You Mention It as well as the absolutely marvelous Blue Heron series. (Anything for You was my personal favorite).As this is a Blog Tour for Valentine’s Day recommendations, Kristan is here to tell us her favorite Valentine’s tradition. And don’t we all remember the dread of having to give Valentine’s to every kid in the class?
Pizza, Books & Valentine’s Day
by Kristan Higgins
Here’s a little secret I’m somewhat loath to admit—I hate Valentine’s Day. When I was a kid, we’d have to give every single one of our classmates a card, and I’ll confess: Joey L. did not deserve a Valentine from me, no sir. Nor did Kate M., who was always mean.
Even then. the holiday smacked of forced good cheer. When I was in college, the poor lad I dated would give me a gas station rose, or worse, write me a poem and then read it to me, and I’d sit, twitching, waiting for the recitation to end.
As a young married couple, McIrish and I once made a Valentine’s Day reservation at a lovely Italian restaurant. That night, the servers were harried and forgetful, and the restaurant was mobbed with couples feeling the pressure to be romantic. No one was proposed to, though I’m pretty sure one young woman was waiting, because she got more and more tense as the night went on (eavesdropping is one of my great gifts). The food, which was usually so good, was mediocre, and McIrish and I decided not to go out anymore. These days, I usually draw McIrish, my sainted husband, a cartoon of the two of us. Some grown-up snuggling may ensue. Sometimes I make him pudding or crème brulée in the heart-shaped ramekins we got as a wedding gift.
Truthfully, the best Valentine’s Day I can remember was when I was living alone, working in a strange city, no friends. A bouquet of flowers arrived at my workplace, signed “From Your Secret Admirer.” I immediately called my dad to thank him, and, bless his heart, he played dumb.
When I got out of work, I went home to my little apartment, got a pizza from the restaurant below, and read a book. A romance novel, of course. No pressure, no expectations… just me with two of the great loves of my life: pizza and a good book.
About Now That You Mention It
One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.
Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.
With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter–a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was–Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.
But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.
For those actually celebrating this Labor Day weekend, Happy Labor Day! Today marks the unofficial end of summer.
However, those living in Houston Texas, or anywhere within the path of Hurricane Harvey, are probably still laboring in one way or another, either to mop up damage, or just to figure out what to do now that the storm if over and the recovery has barely begun.
We have friends in the Houston area, and are grateful that their ride through the hurricane was relatively mild. Their house is on high ground, and they suffered only minor damage to one car. They were lucky, when so many people were not.
Ironically, at this time last year, when I wrote my Labor Day post we were tracking the path of Hurricane Hermine. As trends go, this one sucks. And very, very definitely blows.
Stay safe, wherever you are spending your Labor Day.