By Sharon LaFontaine VanWyk
Memorial Day always seems to sneak up on our family. Being at the end of one of the busiest months of the year, doesn’t leave much room for planning ahead. In the Month of May, our family has four birthdays, as well as all the other May events like Mother’s Day teas, Music recitals, Award Ceremonies, Jr./Senior Banquets, Band extravaganzas, Musical Dramas, and then all the graduations. There are kindergarten graduations, 8th grade graduations and let’s not forget High School and University Graduations. So you can see why Memorial Day gets forgotten until the very last minute.
The past several years, the fun begins when one of the girls in the family (usually Ma La), sends out a mass text that says, “want to have a meal together?” which is followed by about 6 other texts that decides the time, place and menu. There have been Memorial Days in times past when we have planned ahead and organized a LaFontaine side family reunion which sometimes even included a visit to the grave of our grandfather who served in the U.S. Coast Guard. When we were younger, we would sometimes go to Uncle Jim LaFontaine’s house, and enjoy a full day of grilling, heated basketball games with cousins, and four-wheeling. Other sporadic memories come to mind like the annual tackle football game with the whole family in Paul and Bekahs back yard. Annual only until the married people couldn’t muster enough energy to take on all the youngsters, especially after consuming a hardy meal and a gallon of Ma La’s Sweet tea. Our families all time favorite sport spanning 5 generations is baseball. Some of my earliest memories of Memorial Day fun are playing wiffle ball! For those of you who don’t know what wiffle ball is, it’s basically baseball with a plastic bat and ball. The holes in the ball slow down the pitch for the little ones and allow the teens to hit it as hard as they want. So it’s a great multi generational family game! A few memorial days have been spent with the whole family at the Toledo Mud Hens where Sheri had been booked to sing the National Anthem, so we just had bought our hot dogs there and watched the game together.
Regardless of whether it is preplanned or spur of the moment: Regardless of where we meet , what we eat or what we do to burn off the extra calories consumed, Memorial Day represents a time for families to get together and have a relaxing day of fun. Fun that would not be possible had it not been for the men and women who have given their lives to protect our freedom and the liberty we enjoy. As we bow our heads to pray for our meal today, let us pray for all the families who have lost a loved one so that we can enjoy all of ours. May their sacrafice be remembered and appreciated. No greater love hath any man than to lay down his life for his friend.