Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Weekend

Memorial Day 2015

Our family has been unusually blessed when it comes to loved ones in the Armed Forces. Quite a number of my family have served over the years. During World War II, my Uncle Ernie Butler was a turret gunner on a TBF as a Marine; my Uncle Johnny Shields served in England with the Army's 8th Air Force; and my Uncle Elmer Stokes served in the Army Military Police. My Uncle LeRoy Haley served in the Army during the Korean War in the 1950s. In more recent times, several of my cousins have served in the military.

What is unusual about this? Despite such a high rate of service, all of our loved ones came home, alive and whole. On this Day of Memorial, we are reminded that not every family has been so blessed. Many sons, fathers, brothers, uncles, and cousins gave their last full measure of devotion and never returned home to the arms of those who must wait for a joyous reunion when we all meet, at last, beyond the veil.

Our love and appreciation goes out to those men and women, and to their families, as we honor them on this special day. We owe them a debt we can never repay.

Mark slices tomatoes for the burgers.
24 may 2015

It may be that some people see Memorial Day as merely as excuse for barbecues, boating, and parties, but I think deep in our collective consciousness it's a reminder that every moment with our loved ones is unutterably precious. Thus we gather with family and friends to celebrate both those who gave their all and the freedom we continue to enjoy, thanks to their efforts. The truth is that none of us knows whom we may lose tomorrow, whether in the military or on an overcrowded highway or in a hushed hospital room. We must enjoy and love each other as much and as often as we can in the now.

Jacob handled the burger duty, combining the meat with 
finely diced onion and spices, then grilling them to perfection.

Because Sarah had to work from noon until 9:00 and Dylan had to work from 4:00 to 9:00 on Memorial Day itself, we had our Memorial Day barbecue on Sunday as part of our weekly family dinner. Even at that, Dylan was unable to join us for dinner because he had been scheduled to work on Sunday, as well.

Dinner was cheeseburgers, french fries, and corn on the cob.

I started out preparing the corn, but Jacob took over
after I showed him the cool trick I learned on the Internet:

Leave the corn in its husk and microwave on high for 4 minutes (per cob; we did up to three at a time for 12 minutes). No pot, no water, just lay the corn on a paper plate. After removing from the microwave, cut through the husk and cob at the end just above the stem (you'll actually cut through the corn at that end). Then grasp the end of the husk where the silk hangs out, and pull firmly. The corn will slide out, perfectly clean and cooked, without a bit of silk sticking to it! Very quick and easy cleanup!

Gathered around the table: Sarah, Mark, Chris, Jacob, and Danielle.

I decided to do some individual shots this time, so here's Mark.
Do you think he likes a little ketchup on his fries?

And here's me, Mary. Yep, already cheating on day 10 of my diet,
with french fries and corn on the cob. But no bun on my burger!

Here's Sarah...

...and here's Chris.

Here's Jacob...

...and here's Danielle.

And here's Jurassic World!

After dinner, since we no longer have our favorite Sunday shows to watch together (Once Upon a Time, Secrets and Lies, and The Walking Dead), I decided that we should watch a Jurassic Park movie every Sunday for the next three weeks. Since I recently received my 3-disc DVD set of the films from Amazon, and since I am way beyond excited for the new Jurassic World movie to come out on June 11th, I thought it would be fun to have a look at the original films and get psyched up for the release of the new movie. So that's what we did!

Jacob gets the ice cream freezer fired up.

Of course, I spent the first quarter of the movie listening from the kitchen while I prepared the mixture for homemade strawberry ice cream, which was ready to be served up and consumed toward the end of the movie around 9:00, just in time for Dylan to come home from work and join us. It was delicious!

Dylan tries to eat homemade ice cream and fight off his brother at the same time.

Mark and Jacob monitor the grill for our second barbecue.
25 May 2015

Tonight we grilled again, but this time it was just Jacob and Danielle with Mark and me, since Sarah and Dylan had to work. A quieter evening and a simpler meal, but another opportunity to be together and remember the sacrifices that keep us free. Thank God for those who protect this great land!

Tonight: hot dogs, cheesy bratwurst, potato chips with toasted onion dip,
and my homemade coleslaw!

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