Monthly Archives: May 2013

Friday #Fiction 2.1 — Dr. Dres and Door Jambs


Luther held his hand out for the keys patiently waiting for his mother to calm down, assess the moment and come to her senses. She insisted on driving from their city house to Nantucket and after the ride he’d endured on the way from the Logan Airport, there was no way; he’d rather walk, despite the nagging pains in his legs.

Editorial note: this is seventh in a series about the relationship between Claire and Luther. Please start here:

“You can’t just come here for a weekend, mister, and tell me what to do. Everyone is trying to control me. We will get there when we get there. And we certainly won’t get there any sooner if I don’t have my Matisse scarf you bought me from the MoMA. And my sunglasses, where are my sunglasses? Have you seen them? Did you check the stove? The iron. Check the iron. Make sure it’s unplugged. Don’t look at me like that, Luther,” his mother said in a lather over nothing, shoveling through papers on her desk, picking them up and reading them, laughing, tossing them and looking through some more.

“Mother, the keys?”

“Why can’t you just relax?! I am trying to get everything done here and no one helps me.”

“Mother. The house looks fine; the timers are all set. I just want to open the windows on the car. It’s sitting in the sun and we have a long ride ahead of us if we don’t get going now. Google Maps is already showing back ups on the Sagamore, so we need to sort of… y’know get mov–”

“I don’t care about any traffic! I don’t care about the god damned Sagamore bridge. I want my sunglasses and my scarf. Here! Here are the keys! Open the windows, move the car, put it in the shade, drive it out of here, go to the Island, I don’t care. I can’t find my book, either. The one about Belushi… do you remember watching SNL with me when you were in high school? “The Samurai Delicatessen”?”

Luther’s mother Moira hurled the keys at him; they careened through the butler’s pantry and knocked his sunglasses off his face. They skidded across the floor and rested against the door jamb leading into the dining room.

Calmly, Luther took in a deep breath, like he was drawing on a water pipe, and bent over to retrieve his sunglasses. “Thank you for the keys. I had my hand out in case you didn’t notice. I don’t appreciate –”

“What I don’t appreciate, LUTHER, is your insistence that we get going. RIGHT NOW. We have time. If you weren’t such a nag, such a pain in the ass, I wouldn’t have had to throw the keys at you. Find the dog; he’s here somewhere. Your precious father wants him on the Island with us. Have you seen my letter from the attorneys?”

“Mother, I just walked in the door with you. Ten minutes ago. And no, I don’t remember watching “Samurai Delicatessen” with you; that was before my time. I’ll be right back; I’m going to go call Skipper. I have no idea what you’re talking about with the lawyer letters. I can’t ….”

“What can you do?” she hissed.

Luther left the kitchen of the cavernous Victorian brownstone house in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. He didn’t bother with the car, he didn’t take the keys with him. He slumped through the dining room and into the front hall where one of Skipper’s beds lay empty. Skipper, like any other sentient being in that household knew that when Moira started up, the best thing to do was to hide.

He called for Skipper as he walked around the house. It had been about a year since his last visit; piles of clutter were assembling in odd places in the house. The closet where leashes, gloves and winter items were stored was becoming modestly overtaken with magazines, old mail, and catalogs. Luther moved a few paper bags worth of mail out of the way and took out two leashes: the leather one for walks and the grosgrain one for swimming. As fantastic a dog as Skipper was, he often got distracted and disoriented when in the water and sometimes it was hard to get him to come back.

Skipper must have heard the rustling of the leashes; his nails clicking along the ceramic floor heralded his approach. His shiny black hair and glistening mauve nose instantly had a soothing effect on Luther.

“Heyyyy bud-dy, hiya Skipps! Were you hiding? Werrrre yooooou hiiiiding when mommmy went nuts agaaaaaaainnnn? Hmmmmm? Buuuuuddddyyyyy…” Luther kneaded his hands in Skipper’s ample neck fur and scruffy chest cavity. “Oof. You need a bath, buddy. You wanna go car soon?”

As soon as Skipper heard the phrase, “You wanna [anything],” he started to prance and bounce off the tiles, his nails clicking and his tail wagging and contorting his body into the shape of a C with every paw tap on the floor.

Their reunion was brief. Luther’s cell phone vibrated in his pocket. It was Claire calling from work. With both curiosity and dread he considered his phone. It was after three in the afternoon; a call at this time of the day on a Friday could mean a crisis at work. Or it could mean a casual conversation with his office mate. He decided to take his chances and answer the call.

With one hand stroking Skipper’s supple and warm neck and the other swiping the phone to activate the call, he cleared his voice and said, “Yyyesssss? Luther the invincible here. What can I do you for, Clarice?”

“Oh, hey. Luther. What’s up?”

“Uhhh, nothing. You called me…. were you hoping for the voicemail?”

“MMno. No. I wasn’t,” she said. “Hi.”

“Sooooo… are you missing me? Do you need me to talk dirty to you? Are you all alone this weekend, Clarice? Can you hear the lambs?” Luther’s insistence on calling her “Clarice” at times, in reference to the Jodie Foster character in “Silence of the Lambs” agitated her; to Luther it was a compliment because he thought Jodie was hot and the mystery of her sexuality was even more of a turn-on for him; another bonus to him was that the Clarice Starling character was strong, smart and courageous.

“Don’t call me that, Luther. Look, I’m just calling because I noticed your Dr. Dres are here and I wanted you to know. I am happy to overnight them to you if you would like them. I know how you need them to aggressively promote your disinterest in those around you,” she said, her voice lilting and sad at the same time. She was standing in his cubicle, holding his headphones over an open FedEx box. “All I need is the shipping address and I can have them to you by morning.”

“Using company funds for personal gain?? Clarice, the Bureau would never stand for this. Thanks for the offer, Peaches, but I’m good. I have my ear buds. As soon as I got on the plane I put them on; there was this girl from a college volleyball team and she started talking and talking to me… it was at that moment that I wish I had my Dres, but, naw, I’m good here. I could use something else here though, if you wanted to overnight that…. ”

Claire smiled, and squinted her eyes but said nothing.

“You there? Clarice? Hello?”

“I’m here. So you put on your headphones in front of that girl? How rude of you. She was probably just your type. Athletic, obtuse and narcissi–”

“Hay! I resent that. No, she’s not my type, besides she’s gone. And she had hers on before I even could find mine; sadly. I’m like 50 years old to her as far as she’s concerned. I eventually found mine in my breast pocket. Listen, this is starting to go in a not fun direction. is there anything else you want? I’ve got to put out a Moira fire and Skipper here needs to tinkle and stretch his legs. Me too.”

“Moira fire? You’re on a cell phone, you can talk while you walk the dog…”

“Yes, I can do that, but I don’t want to expose you to my mother’s … mood … at the moment. Do you want to come to the bathroom with me?”

“No! Eww. No… I don’t. Listen, I just wanted you to know I submitted my creative for the Congratulations and Revenge mocks and pilots. Your not being here was … helpful. Have a good weekend. Bye, Luther.”

Before Luther could reply with a snarky comeback, the phone call ended. He glanced at the phone, shrugged his shoulders and said to Skipper, “Dames. This one’s a tough nut to crack.” The pair walked out the front door into the sunshine. Luther turned on his music and listened to “Drive By” by Train. An irrepressible smile came across his face when he heard

This is not a drive by,
Just a shy guy looking for a two ply
Hefty bag to hold my love
When you move me, everything is groovy,

Luther used that smile to get him through the ride over the backed-up Sagamore as the backs of his thighs stuck to the leather seats in the family land yacht.

He was driving, his hands were on the steering wheel, and his eyes were on the road. Skipper was in the back seat panting with excitement for he could smell the water and that water meant freedom and Luther and swimming. Moira didn’t argue with Luther about driving to the house; she was uncharacteristically docile and agreeable when he returned from his walk with the dog. She was asleep in the passenger seat, her head leaning against her yellow microbead travel pillow and her mouth wide open in the fading early summer sunlight and music from “Porgy and Bess” was softly playing in the background.


(c) 2013 :: Molly Field

I wrote this in my car on my iPad (which I initially feared and hated when I got it for Christmas) on a trip to NYC for the weekend with the Things in the backseat and all manner of music from Pandora pouring from the speakers. If it stinks, that’s why. 🙂 I initially thought I wasn’t going to post at all, but I want to maintain my commitment to the my fiction friends.

Prompt: This week’s prompt (from the charming Clearly Kristal): If life gives you lemons, don’t settle for simply making lemonade – make a glorious scene at a lemonade stand.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Your character was given lemons, now paint their amazing lemonade stand. Tell us the story of their darkness, their light. Write the story.

Please check out these other Friday Fiction Friends!

The Amazing Lillian Connelly


I have a fantastic friend I’ve never met and I recently learned that she has a relative who lives near me, so sometime in the not-too-distant future, I will be able to meet and hug and jump up and down like a schoolgirl with the Amazing Lillian Connelly at her blog, It’s a Dome Life (which she often says gets found in searches for “it’s a do me life”; I tell ya… some people…)

Lilly is an artist. I would like to say that she paints in oils, or that she’s mainly all about acrylics on canvas, or that she’s committed to watercolors, or pen and ink on parchment, but the fact is that she’s all of that. And more. She has won me over as an artist and as a friend; and her pieces that are collages, are truly, some of the most fantastic and whimsical stuff I’ve ever seen. Her colors are life-affirming; Lillian is what I would describe as an actively optimistic artist. She is fiercely happy and amazingly resilient.

The best part of what Lilly does is that she lets her darling now three-year-old daughter, Tiny-Small, get in on the action. My own mother was an illustrator and a water color artist and I’m sure she dabbled in oils because I’ve seen her art, but I was forbidden from touching her things or her pens and so I never got a chance to do what Tiny-Small is doing: growing with her mom as an artist herself.

We, these perusers of the internet, blog readers and writers, talk about relationships a lot; we have our “IRL” (in real life) friends and we have our online friends and then we have this special class: the friends we’ve made online who have patiently graced us with their trust, their humor and their wisdom in a way that no IRL person ever could.

Could it be the relative safety and distance of the internet that allows us to foster these trusts and relationships without fear? I don’t know, but I doubt it. I think for me anyway, it is a sincere and authentic meeting of the minds and true comity and friendship that engenders these relationships. Lil and I have spoken on the phone, she’s posted a video of herself and her Tiny-Small for me when the FeatherFish arrived and it melted my heart. We’ve chatted online or on our phones at least once or twice a week about ideas, art, writing, problems and it’s always a blessing. But I know this friendship is true because when I don’t talk to LC or my other online friends for a few days, I earnestly miss them. They are as important to me as the friends I have over my fence line, on the walk to school, or at the PTA meetings.

A few posts back, I wrote about the FeatherFish. Lil fell in love with them. The day prior to that, I wrote my poem about the microwave, the likes of which I have a soft spot for because my mom would write poems about food. My favorite poem of hers about food was one about linguine with clam sauce. My poem about the microwave is an homage written on the fly about the crisis we all go through at the dreaded dinner hour: what to make and how to feed the masses.

The long and short of it is that I offered to trade Lillian a set of FeatherFish for a collage made of my poem and we were off to the races. Three days later, I went to buy her FeatherFish and I wrote about it in this post; and she started her collage. About a week later I went for a row and I returned home to a package with my name on it and I was so excited when I opened it that before I could chance into something more presentable, I insisted my husband take a picture of me beside our set of FeatherFish holding the collage:


My hair is gross under that cap. There was no way I was taking it off.

But that photo doesn’t do the collage justice. Here is a better one:

she put my name first. that was totally cool of her. but she did way more work than i did.

she put my name first. that was totally cool of her. but she did way more work than i did.

The post that Lillian wrote about her perspective of how this whole thing went down can be found here. It’s all about how she lifted the images of me and my family from my Facebook page and then grabbed the appliances from somewhere else. This little blog post isn’t as lovely as hers, but I couldn’t let another day go by without my sharing how talented she is and how lovely she is and how grateful I am that she and I found each other on Twitter one night last fall. It’s been one of the nicest things to have ever happened to me.

Thank you, Lilly.

If You Cut off A Cabbage Head, Does it Not Cry?


I know that eating an entire bowl of Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries was on my list for today. I know it.

I just have to add it.

To the list I haven’t made yet.

Man, I’m gonna bum out on that yoga retreat. I am quite certain that there are less-processed ways to get my less-than one gram of protein and 22 grams of carbs.

Oh God, did I just eat that? I mean, yes, I did. All … say, 250 calories 500 calories (who am I kidding?! No one eats 3/4 cup of the Cap’n with 1/2 cup of skim milk) of it. But I hadn’t had a decent breakfast yet.

The yoga retreat. The one where I’m going to be certified to teach children’s yoga, which is great, but I know I’m in for it on the whole dietary thing.

So I spoke to one of the organizers. They insist that the diet is vegetarian. So I was ok; I asked, “No meat? So fish?”

Yogi: No.

Me: Ok… chicken then?

Yogi: No.

Me: Sigh.

Yogi: crickets. (No, we don’t eat crickets, she gave me crickets on the phone.)

Me: Eggs then? I mean, I have to have some form of non-plant-based protein, I know this about myself; I process vegetables very well. (Don’t ask me about this; I’ll tell you just about anything you want to know about myself, even the TMI stuff, but I stop at metabolic processing.)   Milk? Dairy?

Yogi: No, no eggs. No milk.

Me: (vexed at this point): But eggs aren’t meat. They’re … so this is sounding vegan. Isn’t this vegan?

Yogi: Yes. [pause] I mean, no. It’s vegetarian. [sounding confused herself]

Me: But vegetarian diets include fish and eggs. Milk… I don’t get it. This is vegan. I can do vegan: vegetarian chili, most of  my summer pasta is simply tomato and basil with olive oil (I began to get hungry and immediately wanted to put on my leopard pelt, take off my Nikes and grab a club to kill a rabbit I saw going all vegetarian and whatnot on my vincas); I know that all the soy isn’t good for us: all that estrogen is not so great…  Yogurt? Please… tell me there’s something….

Her pauses were staggered; I could tell by her voice that she was getting confused herself.

Yogi: Yogurt? Uhm… Yes, there is dairy because we have cheese with breakfast and yogurt with our fruit.

Me: Oh thank God! Erm, I mean Shiva! Thank Shiva, right? I was beginning to get a little nervous there.

Yogi: But not honey.

Me: Wha— ?

Yogi: Taking honey is cruel to the bees.

Me: How do we know this? Wait, don’t answer that. I can live without the honey. It’s only 16 days. I don’t eat honey … consciously … anyway.

At this point, I was beginning to feel as though my chances of survival in this yogic environment for 16 days without so much as a mini brie were going to kill me. But I can do mediterranean diets, I can “eat like Jesus” as Thing 2 (who was 9 at the time) once said: olives and feta and hummus and pita wedges. I can totally do that. So I decided that I needed to say something like that, but I didn’t say “Jesus” because I don’t know how they feel about the whole Jesus thing; I’m not a thumper, but I am a Christian.

Yogi:  The honey is controversial. Yes, it’s just 16 days and you will be amazed by how good you feel.

Me: (Yes, I will feel like a freshly RotoRootered house, I’m sure.) Oh, yes. I mean, in the summer, we grill all our vegetables and I eat lots of caprese salads and hummus and pita. So I can totally do this. I don’t eat much steak anymore (lie; I was hacking into a raw porterhouse with a wooden spoon at that very moment); I am sure this isn’t too different from what I do every day (apart from the fact that I have two poached eggs every morning with turkey bacon… ‘controversial honey‘?!). I wonder if eating that way will solve our number-one weight problem: belly fat. I’m just kidding. (Not.)

Yogi: Eating this way will solve lots of problems. It will allow you to be truly authentic in your journey toward greater ahimsa.

Me: Ok! Sounds great.

It's all in how we look at it.

It’s all in how we look at it.

A few days later I was at a Memorial Day event and I was talking about my dilemma over a juicy char-broiled hamburger with a friend. We wracked our meat-addled brains to figure out a way for me to survive, and then she came up with it: beef jerky. If I stow away a couple Slim Jims (not the spicy kind, because I will get the toots from those), I might be able to make it.

I was joking with another friend at the same event over a torture-free, PETA-approved beer, about the assertion that a vegan lifestyle isn’t cruel; “How do we know that when we cut off a cabbage that the root body isn’t saying, ‘WHAT THE HELL FUCK?! YOU JUST CUT OFF MY HEAD!’ How do we know its little cabbage heart or system isn’t freaking out? I mean, when we cut off the head, there goes all its chances for photosynthesis and it dies. We are killing the cabbage.”  This friend grabbed his heart because he was laughing so hard. I think I killed him. Does that mean my jokes must stop?  (I will not eat cabbage…)

When we take an egg from a chicken, the chicken doesn’t die (but the chick inside the egg never gets to live… I get it, lighten up, but hey, I was born with 200 million eggs, and they’re mostly done being of any value to me, so … no, you can’t eat my eggs, but if you were as twisted and desperate as I am in this context you would be able to see my point of view, I’m quite sure).

So in less than 60 days I will be on a shuttle van from an airport near my home to ride about an hour and change away to a retreat center in the fantastic Virginia Blue Ridge mountains. I am committed to this. I could bring my own car, but I won’t. I want to be just as desperate and vulnerable and insecure optimistic, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as anyone else coming to the retreat from far-flung places; and I am absolutely excited about that part. If I’m going to do this, I have to do it right.

Back to the initial phone call with the registrar.

Another option, to reduce some of the costs for food and lodging was to bring my own tent and sleep in it. That might work, actually, says my inner Snidely Whiplash… that way I could bring whatever I wanted; a side of beef, and NO bears would be the remotest bit curious. 

Yogi: you can save money on the lodging if you decide to camp on the grounds.

Me: Camp? As I look around at my new hot tub and patent-leather (I mean naugahyde — which reminds me: bring only cotton and rubber clothing) sandals. You mean, in a tent? I can’t … I stifle my laughter.

Yogi: [laughing herself] Yes, you would bring your own tent and sleep in it.

Me: In the Blue Ridge Mountains? Where there is basically no development, thank God because it’s beautiful, but it’s wild. There are snakes and stuff… And if I have to visit the ‘loo from time to time, thanks to the all-vegan, no, sorry, mostly vegan diet… I think I’ll sleep in the cabin. Does it have air conditioning? I’m from  Virginia; where I live is basically a swamp. The summers here are brutal, so I know what it can be like here.

Yogi: Yes [giggling], there is air conditioning. And you will have a roommate; so that helps defray the costs of the lodging.

A roommate? Did I ever tell you I’d never gone away to college? That I went to a commuter school? And that the last day I’d lived at home was the day before my wedding? Phhhh boy. I’m good. I’ve got this.

We had a few more laughs; she told me about someone in previous years who wanted to camp out but ended up coming in. I am trying to not be too insecure and feel like a failure already before I even leave my house for this endeavor because I’m not a hippie. I wear a watch, I have a refrigerator. She used a phone to call me. We used the Internet to register me for the classes using my credit card to take the payment. I have to remember that there is balance in the world and that my way of living is not to be judged by anyone. But it will be hard… I don’t beat my dirty clothes against a rock by a river stream to get them clean.

Speaking of laundry, I have prepared my children tactically at least for one major change in their lifestyles: I will no longer be doing their laundry after the last day of school. They will do their own and they will wear lumpy clothes or unlumpy clothes. The fact of the matter (I love that phrase) is that they are 15, 12 and 9. They can do this. They can help each other. I will be away for 16 days eating grass and tree bark. They can do their own laundry.

I know this: I will bring along a box of Crunch Berries.

Will I be able to blog from there? Good God I hope so.  Now I’ve gotta go find that list…

Thank you.

On Memorial Day


I live in the Pentagon’s bedroom; surrounded by some of the world’s smartest senior military officers both active duty and retired.

Every Memorial Day weekend, my neighbors and I arrange a cookout. My neighborhood is Rockwellian. We’ve thought of moving, we almost did once, to a bigger house, one with a garage, but the fact of the matter is that the intangibles of living here: our neighbors and our way of life, simply can’t be replicated.

I am not married to a military officer, but my blood is American, and I support these extremely brave men and women; officers and their spouses, who have valiantly pledged their lives for my and your freedom.

We are blessed; all of our neighbors have been spared the ultimate cost of military service, but they have all proudly served in the Philippines, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia. Right now, one of our officers is serving in North Korea. In a month, when he returns, we will send off another officer who will serve in Afghanistan for a year as his wife and three young children wait patiently and faithfully for his return. I’ve seen this happen, oh, six or so times now. Each of these officers leave and come back; every day a moment of wonder and a silent prayer offered up, perhaps in vain, for their protection and safe return.

I was reluctant to write about today; I wrote last November about my great uncle Buddy, who served in World War 2 and never made it home from Normandy. That post is poetic, if I do say so myself; but it’s not poetic because I wrote it, it’s poetic because of the fantastic artifacts my family managed to hold on to while Buddy trained for war. Click >here< if you are interested in that post.

As I was saying, I was reluctant about writing about Memorial Day because to me it’s gotten bastardized, corrupted, patronized, commercialized and shapeless. Memorial Day, to me, is like a National Day of Obligation (akin to the Holy Days of Obligation I grew up waiting to avoid) in which we sit, for just one moment or maybe sixty, in quiet repose to think about all the men and women who have died to protect our freedom.

There are those among us who are bitter about war (I raise my hand at times about it); I don’t understand war. On Mother’s Day, my youngest son, Thing 3 who is nine, asked me in front of his dad and two older brothers, “Mom, what do you wish for today? You have three wishes.” I said to him, “It will sound cheesy, like I’m in a beauty pageant, but I want simple things: health for you and your brothers and all your friends; happiness for you and your brothers and all your friends; and I want world peace everlasting. Not just for a day, but for all eternity.” A lump formed in my throat when I uttered those wishes. I meant them all.

So that means I don’t want war. That means that although I don’t want war, and I don’t understand war, I am aware of the fact that there is evil in the world. Sometimes I wonder if my beloved country is actively evil. I know to other people halfway around the world, we are considered evil. What makes us right? What makes them wrong? It all depends on what side of the barrel you’re on I suppose.

So that got me thinking, about war. Yesterday, when Thing 3 was watching Looney Tunes on the couch, there were the fantastic epic battles: Bugs v. Daffy in “Rabbit Seasoning” and Bugs v. The bull in “Bully for Bugs”; Elmer v. Bugs, Road Runner v. Coyote (for once I wish that bird would get his); Tweety v. Sylvester. Then there was one between Bugs and Yosemite Sam. The feud had escalated to a point from slingshot v. pellet gun to revolver v. shotgun to machine gun v. bazooka to canon v. Sherman tank v. atomic bomb and it dawned on me, again unfortunately, as it does every time I think about war, that this has been going on — the “who’s got bigger gun to hurt the other guy first” phenomenon for millennia and what it all boils down to for me anyhow is vulnerability.

I also saw a heartbreaking yet incredible example of that sort of horrifying detachment when I saw an episode of “Nature” when a zebra stallion encountered a foal that was birthed by his mare, but that it was not his foal, and this zebra went after this foal until it was dead. The stallion instinctually slaughtered the young foal because it was not his, and thus instinctually deemed to be inferior. So while I want to chalk it up to vulnerability; I want to believe that we are also part instinctual, that it’s fear (duh, but seriously deep fear that resides in the places we don’t like to talk about at cocktail parties) that foments war, and that fear is born of vulnerability.

But we are humans, we can reason. Right? Sometimes not so much. I catch myself wishing, perhaps foolishly, for people to a grip and not be so reactive, then maybe we’d have a chance at this everlasting peace thing. It takes awareness and humility and sacrifice, on all our parts. We all just want to live, right?

So I ask these senior officers what they think about it all and of course they want peace; they all have children, some have kids who are on active duty right now or whom have graduated from the service academies and will be serving soon. Others have grandchildren. A couple kids I know want to go into the service academies or enlist when they’re old enough. But these senior officers aren’t the ones making the calls; as high as they are in their rank, they still don’t have much of a say in terms of the massive global industrial war complex. We can’t solve these problems. After all, these men and women have children to feed and that happens to be closely tied to their military service. They’re no different from me and you.

So I bring it back down to the street-level view for them. “Given that this is Memorial Day, how do you feel about the way it’s commemorated?”

Lots of them grew up in little towns that dot the country. Many of those towns had parades honoring their fallen heroes. The whole town would shut down so everyone could go to the parade and watch the floats and banners and bands go by.

That doesn’t happen anymore. I suspect it does in some small towns, but when you live in the Pentagon’s bedroom, it’s not really possible. Just under 50,000 people live in my zip code alone.

So they think, these military officers. They don’t judge, but they don’t really answer. People have mouths to feed and people need work and if a half-off sale means they get use the saved money to feed their kids a little better for awhile, then who are we to say no? This is a free country after all; how do we take that right away from them? It’s complicated now. It didn’t used to be so complicated. Or maybe it’s always been complicated and I am finally catching on.

My street is the best street in the world. We work together and we talk to one another and we all truly enjoy each other’s company. I think we’re all in that place in life where we’re figuring it out — what’s important in life: the peace you can create in your own head. My husband and I made a cornhole game set; it was all the rage yesterday, once people loosened up a bit. He won against everyone he played. I couldn’t believe it. Even our current colonel lost to him. I thought that was madness. But I was still thinking about how we commemorate it; are we doing the intention of the holiday justice, just sitting here on our butts and playing as the sun sets?

Finally, one of them spoke up. “I like this. I like the way we’re commemorating it now: with a barbecue, and kids playing street soccer, and others playing hop scotch, and tag. And how we’re here grilling, with a beer in one hand and a spatula in the other, sharing our stories and being together. This is what we fight for; this way of life. I know of no greater country in the world than America.” He wasn’t just saying that. I instantly remembered a friend of my family’s who had served in WW2 saying about Memorial Day, “This is what I fought for; for you and me, thank God, to be able to do this: celebrate. This is who we are. If I died serving in the war, and you didn’t celebrate your freedom on Memorial Day, I’dve thought, ‘why’d I bother?'”

Thank you.