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05/27/2005 Entry: "Gina's Memorial Day MI-5"

1. With the unofficial start of summer on tap for this weekend, what event, people, thing etc signifies the ARRIVAL of summer to you?
I would have to say it's a toss-up between the first day I drag the grill out, or the first night we sleep with the windows open. Of course, those are more mid-spring activities, but I don't really have a summer ritual.

2. Memorial Day, or Decoration Day, as it was called originally, began as a way to honor the war dead. Many communities hold special events on this day, such as parades. As a child did you participate in any of these events?
When I was very young, my family would go to Tenants Harbor for the parade. It was a small parade, and they would march down to the water, put a wreath on the water, and then march back. Outside the Post Office would be a little ceremony and prayer. The prayer, to my childish mind, went on forever. Then a George's Valley High School student would play Taps all the way through, and after they were done, a trumpeter in the distance would play it back. Then it was inside the Post Office for donuts and coffee, and to buy a paper poppy to support the American Leigon.

In high school, I used to march with the band in Rockland's parade, which was also small. They don't have it now, but it's my understanding some high school students are trying to bring it back.

3. Most, if not all, of us have been to a cemetery. People can leave some pretty strange (at least to us) things on graves. And some headstones have some rather original quotes on them. Tell us about the strangest thing you have seen in a cemetery.
I've not seen anything particularly strange on a grave, but I have seen some gut wrenching stuff on the Viet Nam War Memorial. As far as quotes, I haven't actually seen this one, but it touches me. It reminds me of how terribly fragile life is, and how even the smallest things, like a mud puddle, can be life altering.

4. With Memorial Day just days away, tell us how you would like to be remembered.
My goal is to have a nice memorial stone for my family. I have a penchant for old graveyards, and today's practice of using grey granite rectangular markers is boring for me. Sure, paying many thousands of dollars for a big marker may seem strange to some, but to me, it adds visual appeal to graveyards, and is a way for the family to be remebered after death. If the marker sticks out, people are drawn to it. For those of you from Spruce Head: I bet you all know Mike York's grave. His black granite marker is so different from everyone else's in Ocean View. Even though he died before I was born, I know his name and story because of his grave stone.

For my stone, I'm partial to the winged skull or sad angel motif. I'd also like "In Pace Requisat" on there somewhere too, as well as an epitaph of my own writing. Said epitaph is as yet unwritten.

5. And finally, borrowing a page from The Actors Studio (on Bravo) Assuming for the moment that heaven is real, what would you like to hear from St Peter (insert appropriate being here) upon your arrival at the pearly gates?
Matthew 25:23 "His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."

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