Some may believe Memorial Day marks the beginning of the barbecue season or the first weekend it is warm enough to go to the beach. Admittedly, we indulged during the long weekend. We got together with friends and family, spent time in the sunshine, waded in the lagoon and had too many hot dogs, but more importantly we paid tribute to our troops. Selfless men and women who have sacrificed their own freedom and even lives to ensure people they have never even met might enjoy those very things. It was a weekend laden with emotion and ceremony. My boyfriend James, former active duty United States Marine, shared a tribute with my family on Monday afternoon. He bought an extra six pack of beer. We opened each can, one by one, pouring them over the grass to honor the fallen. He cried which is rare; I cried which is not rare. Everyone cried grateful tears, appreciative tears for lives lost and the lives still entangled in conflicts around the world.
Someone in the digital sphere had said we can give thanks by living a life worthy of their sacrifice. While I can't save lives in the same way, I can endeavor to make the world a tad more kind, even sweeter. I took to my large pile of magazines and found a Strawberry Rhubarb Pie recipe from the Food Network. I found rhubarb at the market, an ingredient I have never worked with, and I got acquainted with its raw bitterness. I spent hours alone in my kitchen, following every step and assembling my very first pie, entirely from scratch. Berries were washed, butter cubed, and dough kneaded.
While the dough was chilling we got a great rain and I listened to the calming melody of falling drops on the window sill. I rolled out the crusts and mixed the filling with sugar and the juice of just one lemon. The pie was arranged on a soaked picnic table as the drops made a lovely pattern.
My crust strips may have been uneven, but the pie was bursting with character. It made me very proud to make something, every component, from start to finish. In to the oven it went, the aroma bewitching. Butter and fruit filled my home. We enjoyed the pie on Memorial Day with fresh whipped cream and touch of vanilla, silently giving thanks to the men and women away from their families. God willing most will return home, but the bitter reality dictates otherwise. May we never forgot them and strive to live lives worthy of their sacrifice.