I know. It’s been months since my last blog. March 20th to be precise, when snow fell on blooming periwinkles. Well, the snow is long melted, and in the weeks and weeks since that spring storm, I’ve been on an extended apron journey, traveling to Arizona, North Carolina, Michigan, Georgia and Florida (upcoming blog entries will share the aprons, stories and apron lovers I met along the way!); completed a new book (due out next spring!), and wrapped up a 1 1/2 year home renovation (marriage intact!). All causes for celebration, but not today. Because today is Memorial Day, and while I enjoy summer’s traditional kick off , I’m also a tad melancholy.
Today has me thinking about my dad, whose military service was one of the highlights of his life. He was attending college on a football scholarship when he joined the navy because “it was the right thing to do.”In a faded blue envelope with the prettiest white scalloped edging, I found this photo and a newspaper clipping dated May 25, 1941-the date in ink, handwritten by my grandmother-and it’s headlined Beaufort Man Joins Navy. The “man” is Daddy. Twenty-one years old, eight years younger than my own first born. I wonder how many times Grandma opened this envelope and looked at the annoucement, praying, as all mothers do, that he would come home. He almost didn’t make it, surviving a D-day sinking of the destroyer Glennon and a Kamikaze attack on a second ship, the Douglas H. Fox. My siblings and I proudly display his commendations, of which he was humbly dismissive.
Following his retirement, he revisited Scotland and the village that gave him refuge following D-day and wrote a hilarious story about reconnecting with a beautiful lass he’d met during his stay, the two of them over fifty years older. The piece is poignantly observant and funny – to read it is to know my dad through the vehicle of humor. What a gift.
His truly was a generation that loved this country. Time to tie one on…an apron, of course! and raise a toast to America.