I’m home from three days on the nether side of the state.
I did not make it to the cemetery after all. My fatigue level on Saturday kept me from making the hour trip into the city. On Sunday, I made time for three different family gatherings; the living seemed more fitting company than the dead. Monday saw me at Picasso’s in St. Charles for breakfast with my son. I listened to his update on pursuits in Chicago, talked of my own plans, and then we parted with a hug and a tap of the horn when I turned west just before he headed east both on I-70 but to vastly different destinations.
En route, I figured that I had a Memorial Day celebration left to attend. I think both my father and my favorite curmudgeon would be pleased to know that I stopped at Mile Marker 45 to honor a fallen state highway patrol officer.
I pulled the Prius to the edge of the access road and hit the flasher button. With my bag slung over my shoulder, I trudged down the steep parkway. My feet found level ground; I’ve walked this path on other occasions.
I stood before the monument and raised my right hand in the best salute that I could muster, never having served, never having seen the real McCoy. My voice rang through the clear summer air and shimmered against the vivid blue sky. “Thank you for your service.”
I thought forward a week to the benefit on Sunday, where four artists will show their work and help my colleagues and I raise money for First Responders. I stood for a few minutes, feeling any glint of complaint ease from my soul. I nodded toward the monument, then spoke aloud again. “Happy Memorial Day.” I turned and climbed the hill, and continued toward home.
It’s the twenty-ninth day of the forty-first month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.