Remember the true meaning of Memorial Day

May 25, 2014

The fat lady is about to sing. And don’t forget, I told you so. It’s like those mattress tags that say “Do not remove.” But you can’t resist, so you pull on it because it is always sticking out and looking cheesy. Before you know it, the whole thread has pulled and opened up the stuffing and then the mattress police are at your front door. So take heed and be prepared.

We are about to embark on Memorial Day weekend. It’s true, a few short weeks ago we were down on our knees begging for this weekend during the winter months when our snow accumulation reached a quarter of an inch and the temperatures plummeted.

You can’t blame us for wishing for what’s considered the summer kickoff; we simply aren’t equipped around here to deal with winter, as evidenced by the number of people who were walking around covered in soot because they didn’t know what a flue was and how to open it.

Well, we have to face up to parking meters, highway traffic, begging for quarters and what Americans love the most, long lines. You will have to go from pulling into a parking place right in front of your destination to circling in a holding pattern that is showing up at the air traffic control tower in Philadelphia. There are so many cars looking for spaces it’s jamming the radar.

Just being downtown may be dangerous to your health unless you pay attention. Already the crowds are amassing and growing in numbers at the Boardwalk in Rehoboth. Still, there is a certain pause caused by the beauty of being so close to the ocean, especially the sound of the crashing waves; it drowns out the screams of folks from New Jersey, who are yelling, “Sharks! Head for the hills,” when spotting a school of dolphins.

At times the business of the scenario can resemble Union Station minus the announcement of the arrival and departure times of trains. People spill out on the sidewalks stuffed into extra-large T-shirts that spell out Hump Day in Swahili. Still, you have to be careful. It’s known that the milk-white legs protruding from last year’s short shorts are blinding and may cause damage to your rods and cones. The knee-high black socks no doubt might have some hazardous effects that will affect your red blood cells.

With the advent of Memorial Day weekend come a lot of rule changes. There are the off-street parking permits, which cost the amount of a congressional budget that has run amok, bicycles have hourly enforcement on the Boardwalk, signs saying no conscious uncoupling allowed, with an attorney’s phone number for reference, and the newest ones, no smoking.

The one I hate to see enforced, although I realize it is necessary, is the ban on dogs until after the season. The beach is such a social gathering for canines, not to mention all those tasty fries and splats of ice-cream on the sidewalk, it seems cruel to limit their time.

Dogs and I have a lot in common. People talk about our weight behind our backs; we hide under the bed during electrical storms, and we can’t say enough about white rum drinks like Mojitos. But canines can take some solace in the dress or lack of on the humans strolling along. I mean, it is enough to make you lose your appetite.

With all this going on, we can’t forget the true meaning of Memorial Day, a time to honor those men and women who have died in our nation’s service. Take a moment to join our real heroes in a place of silence. Just a thought, a prayer or displaying our flag is the least thing we can do as we enjoy our freedom and all this country stands for on Memorial Day weekend.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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