Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

"Hey, honey," she said, kissing me on the cheek and looking in my eyes. "I am going to the movies, then I will be at the grocery store. I'll see you tonight, okay?"

I smiled and nodded, held her hand and closed my Anchor book. Memorial Day was usually a day to reflect, and she generally stayed out of my way for it. She kissed me again.

"I love you," she said. "Relax and I'll bring you home a little treat."

I nodded and watched her go, then turned back to my boot camp book, flipping through the pages and recalling one memory per face, one memory per frame, sometimes more. I lingered over a few.

This was their day. Car accidents, combat, misadventure, the grind of life after the service and the callous turned backs of the people they served, these didn't matter. That they served and then died did. My company had only a few over the years, but for my father, or my great-uncle Jerry or for any world war two vet, it was more a case of very few left to remember them and more of them to reflect on.

But this was the day for that, and Marcie knew I set it aside for that, and that is what I did. When she came home, we ate and drank wine, and the toast was always the same.

"To all the friends and comrades who would have like to meet you," I said, each year we were together, every Memorial Day.

Her toast was always the same, too. "To you, a true friend to heroes."

And dinner was usually silent afterward, but warm.