Memorial weekend is here and it is one of my favorite holidays. After my family, my real passions have always been firearms and racing cars. Here are a few thoughts from a past column and some I’ve had concerning this year’s celebration.
My family always spent the Memorial weekend camping on our favorite creek, first with tents and tarps, then we upgraded to a camp trailer. On more than one holiday outing we awakened to a foot of heavy wet snow; but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for having fun. We went fishing, did a little plinking with our 22s, ate lots of junk, drank lots of Shasta soda, and I always listened to Sid Collins, the voice of the “500”, describe the “greatest spectacle in racing” on a scratchy car radio. It was really a wondrous time for a young boy with a penchant for speed. And always my dad, a WWII Army Air Corps veteran, made sure we understood and appreciated the sacrifices of those who never came home and the loss suffered by the families left behind.
Yesterday, I competed in a trap tourney in Great Falls; it was fun to be with many of my friends and fellow competitors. Today, my ritual will be somewhat different that my normal Memorial Sunday. I rise around 4 AM, slug down some coffee and begin enjoying the day’s annual racing rituals by watching the Monaco Gran Prix. But I’ll have to record Indy and Charlotte as our niece is visiting with her three young children. This family is from central Washington, so the wonders of Montana have ignited the imaginations of these youngsters. I’m a grampa with one grandson, so having three bright-eyed curious urchins whirling around with Archie our springer dog is quite, well, let’s say invigorating.
Tomorrow will be more sober. I’ll go to the cemetery and visit the resting places of family and friends, many who left a long time ago, and a few who just recently passed. I also pay attention to those graves adorned with little American flags; I’ll thank them in my own way for all they have given to me; although my gratitude pales in comparison to their sacrifice.
Then maybe I’ll wet a fly line, or shoot one of my guns, or maybe just watch my pup Archie play. But I will once again remember what an old Air Corps Sargent taught me; one must always remember what it means to be an American and never take for granted the sacrifice of all those who died for us.
Be safe and good shooting.