Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A Memorial Day Well Spent

Memorial Day is a special holiday to me for two reasons.  First, my brother is in the army, currently serving on his second tour, this time in Afghanistan.  His job is dangerous (though he assures us that it’s not really that bad), as he is constantly on the road, driving as an armed escort to and from places.  This puts him in harm’s way more than I like to think.  Thankfully, he’s never had any problems, and prayerfully, he never will.  He will be returning to the States for a two week R&R in August, and then ending his tour next January or March.

The second reason Memorial Day is special is really more of a bittersweet reason.  Keisha’s dad passed away shortly after we started dating.  She was sixteen.  I was a freshman in college.  I remember getting that frantic phone call and I dropped everything and sped home, making the two hour trip in almost half the time.  The loss of her father was life-changing for her and her family.  Keisha still struggles from time to time with it, and it’s painful to go through something like that. 

On Memorial Day, I think about these things.  I remember the people that have given up their lives for our country.  I thank God that we live in a place where we do have freedom.  And even though we like to complain and bicker and argue over our rights, at the end of the day, our country is still far better off than many other places in the world.  I also like to remember the loved ones that have gone on.  Many of them are in a better place, and these thoughts are things that truly bring a smile to my face.

Yesterday, on Memorial Day, Keisha and I got up early and drove to a flea market.  We spent the surprisingly cool morning shopping around for deals and bargains (I bought Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box for fifty cents! and Fallout3 for $15!).  We enjoyed just looking at the odd things people try to sell.  We enjoyed our time there, and afterwards we went to Keisha’s mom’s house to spend some time at home.

Keisha is teaching a VBS class next week, and the theme is western.  Keisha grew up with horses, though the desire to ride them stagnated after her dad’s death.  He was going up to the barn to shoe some horses, and on his way there, he had a heart attack and collapsed near the barn.  The horses were kept up until just a few weeks ago, when they finally were sold.  I went to help Keisha get some saddles and other things from the tack room.  The room was dark, dusty, musty, dirty, and all-out undesirable.  I bravely ventured inside, armed with a pitchfork, and slowly procured the few things she wanted.  After all was removed, we headed down to sit under a shade tree and clean the stuff.  It took all afternoon, wiping down and oiling the leather saddles, washing away years of dust and grime.

The whole time, I’m sure Keisha was thinking of things years back, when things were simpler and life hadn’t yet been disrupted.  I know I was.  I would do anything to be able to have her dad back, but I know there’s nothing I can do.  Hope for the future is the only reassurance I can offer her, a faith that promises a reunion in heaven.

At the end of the day, we were both exhausted and filthy.  Memorial Day was filled with a business that wasn’t restful, but at the same time, it was fun to be home with family.  It was nice to work outside on things.  It’s easy to see that life slows down in the country, and this is one of the things I love about where I grew up.  Rural life is more pleasant than I can describe, and simplicity really does rule the day.  While I don’t consider my current home to be rural, ultimately Keisha and I both want to move back to the country. 

Once again, I want to thank all of the men and women who have served our country.  They deserve honor and recognition for what they do.  I, for one, will never slight them, and I pray you never will, either.  And for those who have lost loved ones, I offer you my condolences.  I truly believe God knows best, and that’s a faith I will die believing.


David Wagner said...

A simpler, rural life would sure have its appeal for me, if only for the chance that such a change of pace might shake me out of the neck-deep ruts I've walked myself into.

I poked around a little bit online, looking for some decent Memorial Day sales, but apparently I didn't look hard enough, for I found nothing to write home about.

I turn 40 this year, and never served in the military at all. Not that I didn't want to, or have anything against it at all, it just never presented itself as an opportunity. Besides, I kind of got married real young, so that choice was sort of made for me, in a way. Still, I have nothing but the highest respect and admiration for servicemen and women everywhere. God keep them safe, help them to do their jobs well, and come home to those that love them soon. Amen.

logankstewart said...

@Dave: Aye, I love Kentucky and the simplicity I have here. Well said, friend. God keep them safe always.