While far too many stir-crazy Americans threw caution to the wind this weekend and ventured out of their COVID-19 isolation chambers to hit beaches, boardwalks, and bistros throughout the land, we spent our time at the Sanger KOA reflecting on the meaning of Memorial Day. The official observance of Decoration Day began in 1868, when Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic called for a nationwide day of remembrance, “for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
The day had been unofficially observed for several years mostly by women throughout the North and the South who wanted to pay tribute to their beloved dead by decorating their graves with fresh spring flowers.
In 1882, Decoration Day was renamed Memorial Day, but it didn’t become a federal holiday until 1968, with the passage of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend for federal employees (the change took effect in 1971).
We arrived on Friday evening, shortly before a storm front. We had just enough time to prepare Date Night dinner before the storms rumbled through. Saturday found us engaged in our typical routines, reading The New York Times, enjoying Bloody Marys, brunching and napping. Evening brought a “traditional” cookout, with hamburgers and French fries, followed by a roaring fire in the Austin stone pavilion’s massive fireplace. And Sunday provide even more time for similar leisurely pursuits, except the nightly grill featured pork chops, cob corn and broccoli.
Speaking of the grill, Chef Cliff was delighted to spend the weekend grilling on the new “nest” we purchased for the Big Green Egg. It elevates the egg to cooking height, and provides a much more stable platform than the iron plant holder we used in the interim. We ended the day enjoying the excellent National Memorial Day Concert on PBS, followed by another fantastic fire in the pavilion.
We lingered on Monday, reluctant to leave during a day-long drenching rain. Eventually, we departed, knowing we would return in only a few days.