School used to be out by Memorial Day, but now kids have to go through June. It doesn’t matter, though, because summer still unofficially begins on Memorial Day weekend! On Memorial Day Weekend there will be backyard barbecues and car washing. We will listen to the Indy 500 on AM radio and sit on rickety lawn furniture. I can feel the cool breeze through an open window. The curtains move like dancing ghosts.
Children ride their bikes and climb trees. The woods have many mysteries for 12-year-old boys. It takes a dead eye shot to kill a crow with a bb gun. They are sitting ducks on power lines. The girls will follow the boys deep into the tangled wood to skip rocks on the lake and practice their kissing. There is not much else for kids to do on Memorial Day Weekend.
Al Unser won the Indy 500 four times, the Andretti’s are favorites, and Saturday the Little Five Hundred sprint car race roars till midnight. The grinding engines and the whistle from the Union Pacific Locomotive haunt the children as the lay awake in bed. They dream before they sleep, and everything seems more probable at night. Growing up never crosses their minds and the feeling of freedom grows with the end of the school year near.
The world gets smaller as one gets older and eighteen is only a few years away. Most of the children will graduate high school and leave small-town Indiana. The rest will wash their cars on Memorial Day weekend and believe life is as good as it gets.
Written by: Brett Wiley