Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Weekend

Part 1: The barbecue My son bought a new car this weekend, a Honda Fit. It's a pretty nice little car and to celebrate we had a sort of impromptu little barbecue that evening at our house. It was late in the afternoon and I went to the grocery store for a few supplies. Of course, I am always looking for an excuse to take the scooter. Got 3 small bags of groceries on the 'purse hook' and bungeed a bag of charcoal on the rack in front of the topcase. We didn't get real fancy with the food. Just grilled some burgers. My 'smoker' has a side firebox that is designed to slow cook, with indirect heat, foods like ribs and briskets by burning wood over a long period of time. I sometimes use different types of wood such as oak, mulberry, green apple, and the normal types such as hickory.
For the burgers though, we didn't use the side firebox, but instead just grilled the meat over the coals. Added a couple pieces of hickory to the charcoal.
Here's another view of the cooker. Was a Father's Day present a few years back.
We also had some strawberries, hummus, grilled onions, 2 kinds of cheese and of course a little bit of alcohol to wash it down . I like rum drinks so I fixed myself a hurricane, my wife had a scotch and soda, my son had some wine, and my daughter and her main squeeze had some beer. Some people come up with the strangest (my opinion only) beers that they like. I had never heard of these.
I am not really a big drinker, but my favorite beer is called "Fat Tire" from a micro brewery in Fort Collins Colorado. I bet Dom Chang has ridden by there.
We had a great time, the weather was almost perfect for a barbecue. A nice relaxing evening.
Part 2: The cemetary
My wife is the 5th of 6 children in her family. I am the 4th of 5. Unfortunately the next oldest sibling for my wife died just before reaching the age of 2 of leukemia. Her family lived in Wellington Kansas at the time that Geoffrey passed away. Wellington is a small community about 25 miles south of our fair city.
For many years, on Memorial Day, we have made the short trip down to Wellington to place some flowers on his grave. For the small town of Wellington, Memorial Day is a big event. The lanes of the cemetary are lined with flags. This is not unusual for many small towns in Kansas, nor anywhere else for that matter. I always find it interesting to look at some of the graves that are adorned with flowers and emblems showing which war the decedent might have participated in.
In our immediate family, there were very few deaths from our country's past wars. My father served in the navy, my wife's father in the army, an uncle was in the Battle of the Bulge and served with Patton. But almost all survived the war, physically.
Mentally is sometimes another matter. It wasn't that they suffered permanently from combat fatigue or whatever you would like to call it. But for many of them, it was very difficult for them to talk about their war experiences. They preferred to keep the feelings and horrors they experienced to themselves.
I remember one Memorial Day about 8-10years ago where members of our church were sort of enlisted to speak about some of their experiences to the audience. One of them talked about flying troops and supplies over the Himilayas from India to China during World War 2. Another landed on Omaha Beach. The experiences they had were varied and geographically very different. But one thing they talked about, and cried about, was the number of friends that they had lost. In many cases these friends were people they had barely met and didn't get to know for very long. Let us also not forget how hard it was on the wives and families of those serving overseas, knowing that every day could bring the possibility of getting one of those telegrams.
I am not a veteran myself. In the 70's, I actually was one of the last people required to get a draft card, but was just a little bit too young to ever get called up. I am thankful about that even though I would have been willing to serve. But the thought of serving scared me.
The rock singer Sting (of the group The Police ) has a line in a song that I relate to very much. It says:
"I never saw no military solution that didn't always end up as something worse."
War sucks!


  1. cpa3485 Jim:

    Nice car, nice scoot, and REALLY NICE BBQ. I need a new one. If we lived closer I would "borrow" yours and try my hand at smoking salmon.

    I notice that Americans are more patriotic than Canadians. You hardly ever see Canadian flags flying. I was trying to find one for my bike, but there are none to be found.

    Your son is going to like his FIT. I have a Honda EX coupe as my commuter car, but during the summer it is parked more than used as I am out and about on my scooter or motorcycle.

    Hope you had an enjoyable Memorial Weekend with friends & family

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  2. Bobskoot,
    If I needed a car, I would strongly consider the "Fit". It gets great gas mileage and is very functional for a very small car. My son is a high school coach and is constantly toting around equipment, supplies and people.

    Your comment about the flags reminds me of a convention we attended in Montreal a few years back. One of the days we were there was Canada Day, but we found it interesting that the day was not a 'big deal' in Quebec and the celebration was largely ignored there.
    We did have a great weekend, and hope you did too.


  3. why yes, I know for "Fat Tire" and its usually what I order in the infrequent occasion when I am at a bar.....

    good beer.

  4. Dear CPA3485:

    Now that's what I call a smoker! What a great piece of equipment! I'm laughing because I just read the line, "My son is a high shool coach." Somehow, I figured you were about 26-years-old.

    So what kind of scooter adventures did you have this weekend? Did you note I added your blog to my "Destinations" list.

    Fondest regards,
    Twisted Roads

  5. Jim, very nice post and pics. The barbecue and your backyard look awesome! Thanks for sharing some of your memories about your family who served and the little one who passed on too soon.

  6. Charlie 6,
    I had my first "Fat Tire" while playing bridge one night with some friends. Have been hooked ever since. I really only like beer on really hot days though.

    Thanks for the comment. It's always sad to lose a child.

    The BBQ equipment is a lot of fun. I especially like doing ribs and briskets, but they take up to 10 hours to do it right. I sometimes start out in the morning, do yard work and putter around while checking the status of the fire every hour or so. We also have an herb garden and use fresh herbs in the cooking process. The end result is often heavenly. Almost as good as great sex.

  7. cpa3485:

    Jim: I suppose you don't know the hatred the French have against the rest of us in English Canda. While Canada Day may appear to be a national holiday, the French would rather celebrate the French Independance. They also have laws in Quebec to be French Speaking, and signs must be dominately French. Most of the larger corporations have already migrated to Toronto. Having 2 official languages in Canada has become a nightmare

    I second what Jack said. Funny thing, when I got my first scoot (a while ago) I thought that I was probably a little to "old" (read: Mature) for it. I had visions of meeting all these teenagers scooting around, but I have found that most scooterists are "our age", and the younger ones have scoots because they are cheaper than cars and are in it for economical reasons

    bobskoot: wet coast scootin

  8. Jack and Bobskoot,
    There's an old line in the Star Trek movie "The Wrath of Khan" that Spock says that days will seem like hours, hours like minutes, and minutes will seem like seconds.

    I have begun measuring time in my life in "Decades"

    I'm not too far into my 5th decade FYI, and frankly not real happy about it sometimes. My back is not in good shape and other bodily parts don't work like they used to. But I persevere.

    We had a great time in Montreal. The Jazz festival was going on, ate great food and generally saw the sights.
    At breakfast on the morning of Canada Day we asked our waiter (who was obviously very French) what people said to each other on Canada Day. Sort of like 'Happy 4th of July' or something like that. We were honestly and innocently just curious. The waiter glared at us and just said:

    "This is Quebec!"

    We got the messaage.

  9. Very, nice moving post. One thing I miss about my father is his BBQ. He could BBQ a gym shoe and make it taste great! He had a secret recipe and BBQ in one of the homemade garbage can contraptions that a lot of people in Chicago BBQ in. Times and technology...

  10. Sojourner (Sharon),
    Thanks for the comments. BBQ can be sort of like a religion. The wood smoker is not really high tech. The real challenge is keeping the temperature where desired. Some woods burn hotter than others, etc. It used to frustrate me, but now have decided that it just adds to the adventure.