War words

Although I know the answer to my annual question – why do we have to frame war as a honorable endeavor, call killings ‘the ultimate sacrifice,’ – it popped up again as we watched the annual Memorial day ritual – the speeches, the invocation of God (always on our side), even the rainbow speech of the (first) female commandant of the American Legion post in Manchester.

For Axel it is mostly a social event. He can’t walk a straight line from one end of the cemetery to the other because he either knows someone or he has to stop at a grave. It takes a long time to cover any distance. It is also the annual handshaking with people Axel knows but I don’t; old classmates, football mates, relatives. This is his hometown after all.

After the ceremony we walked over to inspect the graves we had prettied up only two days ago. It hasn’t been always like this- there have been years we have been remiss in our duties and the graves were decorated with weeds. Not this year.

We walked home past the house of Sita’s in laws where we made our daily check in call to the expectant mom. No activity there yet. They don’t go to the ceremonies – he knows the nasty side of war and is not interested. If there wasn’t a social aspect I would stay home too.

The rest of the day was devoted to gardening and cleaning up rampant ivy, left untouched for the last 3 years. I was merciless in my cutting back as it had nearly strangled a hydrangea bush and was working on another. I put it back in its place.

Tessa and Steve stopped by from their rare day off together, dropping off a pint of ice-cream from the ice-cream stand run by a former class mate’s mom. Axel demonstrated the utility of my mother’s day present, the outdoor fireplace, and cooked our dinner on it. He had gone out with his fishing rod to bring home dinner but the fish thought otherwise – and so we had frozen shrimp, a standby just in case – with roasted asparagus (our own), a micro greens salad (our own) and homemade potato crisps. The latter are not our own as the potatoes still have a way to go. We sat by the fire until the mosquitoes chased us inside.

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