Living in Society

Memorial Day Weekend

Service Flags at Oakland Cemetery, Solon, Iowa.

Editor’s note: I’ve written about Memorial Day so many times I can’t remember them all. This retro post is from May 29, 2010. Back in the day I would occasionally post live blogs of my activities to note an occasion. I was still writing to understand how to blog. This year the number of activities planned is less and there won’t be any live blogging. Instead, I’m hoping the rain abates and I can finish planting the garden. Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Friday: 9:00 AM: Five Mile run. Saw many (stopped counting at 30) goslings with parents near the shore.

1:00 PM: Trip to Stringtown Grocery. Perhaps the favorite item is popcorn, which comes in several varieties and is sold in bulk. It is worth the trip to Kalona for the popcorn. They also had local lettuce for a dollar a bag and brown eggs for $1.79 per dozen (much less expensive than at the farmers’ market). The clear blue sky made driving along Highway One a pleasure. The antique stores had banners unfurled and seem ready for business.

5:15 PM: Peace vigil at the Pentacrest.

7:00 PM: Iowa Press with the three Democratic US Senate candidates Roxanne Conlin, Tom Fiegen and Bob Krause.

Saturday: 4:15 AM: Wake and coffee made.

7:00 AM: Arrived early at the farmers’ market, parking on Iowa Avenue near the Unitarian Church to avoid the congestion of the lot south of Chauncey Swan parking ramp. Ran into Tom Baldridge and we discussed Nicholas Kristoff’s article in the New York Times on Sister Margaret MacBride of Phoenix. We passed a happy half hour, waiting for the whistle to blow, starting the sales. I bought a cucumber, asparagus, a bunch of turnips, a bunch of radishes and two quarts of local strawberries.

8:00 AM: There was a crowd of twenty outside the Solon Public Library when I arrived, waiting for the early bird opening. $5.00 to get in before the crowds to search through the 9,000 books on sale this year. There was a tall stack of free t-shirts and I took a couple for me and two to send to our daughter. I had a bag, which I filled, moving quickly among the piles to get through the majority of tables. I bought two dozen books, hoping to find time to read them. They are, community cookbooks from Mount Pleasant, Nauvoo, Illinois, Keokuk, Victor and Fort Madison. John Gardener’s Nickel Mountain, New Directions 27, The Life of Honorable William F. Cody, Now Playing at Canterbury by Vance Bourjaily, Vachel Lindsay’s Collected Poems, a biography of Mary Baker Eddy, the book and lyrics for Brigadoon, Kiss Me, Kate, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Porgy and Bess and other musicals of the American Theatre. There was a book of Tennyson, Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach about the Dutch tulip speculation. A second copy of Passing Time and Traditions: Contemporary Iowa Folk Artists by Steven Ohrn. Iowa Inside Out by Herb Lake, a book about the art inside the U.S. Capitol provided by former congressman Ed Mezvinsky. Selected Letters by Robert Frost, Robert Kennedy: In His Own Words, Mason and Dixon by Thomas Pynchon and a hardcover copy of The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe. Two more; Hope Here: Beyond East and West by Norimoto Iino and The Idea of Fraternity in America by Wilson Carey McWilliams. Quite a lot to tote from the truck; more of a commitment to read them all. Should be set for the next year.

9:30 AM: Garage work. Cleared out a space for one car. Collected grass clippings for the garden. Ran 2.5 miles.

2:45 PM: Made lemonade out of lemons. Listened to Awful Purdies on the radio. Wrote post for BFIA tomorrow.

5:25 PM: Gardening to prepare for dinner.

6:00 PM: Picked spinach, made a big salad for our dinner while listening to A Prairie Home Companion.

Sunday: 3:15 AM: Wake and first loads of laundry over coffee.

4:30 AM: Wrote post for BFIA on Memorial Day.

6:30 AM: Jacque and I attended the Solon Firefighters Breakfast in town, at the fire station.

Fire Fighters Breakfast

7:45 AM: Take a nap from being up so early and too many carbohydrates for breakfast.

9:53 AM: Weeding the Garden.

11:16 AM: Drink leftover lemonade after weeding. My shoes fell off and barefoot I walked and crouched in the dry soil, pulling weeds. Working in the garden takes practice, a hundred times of squatting and pulling unwanted grasses by the root by digging fingers deep in the soil.

12:44 PM: Departure for Iowa City.

Plum Grove Historical Site

2:47 PM: Return from Plum Grove. The home of Iowa’s territorial governor from 1838-1841, Robert Lucas, can be found at the south end of the streets Dodge (for Augustus C. Dodge an Iowa Territorial Representative to the US Congress), Governor and Lucas (both for Governor Lucas). It is open during the summer and there was an interpreter today, along with costumed interpretations of the governor and his wife, Friendly Ashley Sumner. The house seems typical for the time, and something I learned was that Governor Lucas was a part of the temperance movement and wanted Iowa to remain a dry state. That didn’t really work out.

5:30 PM: Dinner potato salad burger and baked beans.

6:10 PM: 2.5 mile walk by the lake. Very hot and sunny. Met neighbor’s new baby in a pram. Lots of pontoon boats out on the lake. The grasses are grown tall and gone to seed.

7:15 PM Prepared strawberries and ate a bowl of them for dessert. They taste much better than the ones trucked in from California.

9:02 PM: Just finished the last load of laundry. Took all day! Tomorrow morning is the ceremony at the Oakland Cemetery, and then more gardening and preparing for the coming week’s work.