Saturday, May 23, 2009

Weekend 3-Way: Holiday Edition

Here we are on this Memorial Holiday Weekend, a weekend of picnics and parades and barbeques, and, if you have ever lived in the northeast, cold rainy weather.

We here at Me and You and Ellie have celebrated many holidays in the last year, including New Years Day and Thanksgiving and St. Patrick's Day and Election Day and Christmas and wedding anniversaries and a wedding and the Super Bowl and lots of birthdays. Because we know how to have fun.

And now that another holiday is upon us, the question is begged.

What is your favorite holiday? And why?

Back in my working days, I always used to answer this question: the Fourth of July. No presents, no big organizing, just food and drink and friends and a day off and summer.

But when we hit the road, everything changed. Every day became a holiday, and we found even celebrating our birthdays became superfluous. Well, we continued to celebrate our birthdays, of course, but we cut out the presents. Unnecessary. What better present is there than being on the road, celebrating Bill's #41 by hiking in the Davis Mountains of West Texas? Or celebrating my #38 by grilling steaks in North Dakota?

And national holidays are tricky on the road, because all the amateurs are out, taking up all the space in the campgrounds, leaving poor travelers like us high and dry.

So. Taking all that into account, I have a couple of favorites, depending on where I am. One of my favorites is baseball's Opening Day, but only if I'm in San Diego. That is a good place to hear those magical words, "Play Ball!" Here in Connecticut, Opening Day was exciting, of course, because of all it promises, but that was 7 weeks ago, and it's only now just starting to get nice around here.

So. Memorial Day it is. The official beginning of summer. The beginning of nice weather, even in the godforsaken northeast. Food, booze and picnics. And, thankfully, we're miles from any parade route.

Although I was born on Memorial day, and I do like it for the very same reason as Ellie does, namely that it's the three-day weekend that kicks off the summer season (and because I vaguely remember placing flags on Vets graves with my Dad, which he did with reverence), it is not my favorite.

I also love Labor day, on which both my brother and oldest daughter were born (on different days and in different years, of course), with its typically hot weather and almost-warm ocean temperatures, that extra day to be used solely for soaking up those last lazy, hazy summer rays before the (by then quite needed) routines of fall, namely school, begin. But it is also not my favorite.

My favorite is an autumn holiday, the one that falls on the third Thursday of November (very close to Jacquie's birthday). I love that we have an entire holiday dedicated to gratitude, and what's more, that it's gratitude by way of food. Yes, there is cooking involved, which I'm normally not a fan of, but because Thanksgiving dinner is the main event of the day, there being no costumes to don, or stockings to open, or fireworks to watch, or colored eggs to find, it doesn't seem like a chore, it seems instead like some ritualized form of gratefulness. And if you're Thanksgivings are like mine, they can take many forms, from big family gatherings, to even bigger gatherings of friends and family, to an intimate meal for two -- from traditional to, well, not. When I think back, I've spent Thanksgiving dinner in all matter of place (once in Turkey!) with all combination of people, and always, each year, there is plenty to be grateful for.

Plus there's pie. Almost always.


Ellie, opening day is not a holiday. I am not sure how to answer this one, because the success of holidays in particular depends so much on their circumstances each year. I'm going to go with Christmas though, because Christmas always means a two week vacation, and I am very fond of vacation. And of course, the joy of giving, the birth of the sweet baby Jesus, the tree, the lights, the merriment, yada yada.


Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh, but it is, Jacquie. It is.


Lola said...

I like the Fourth, myself. Booze, loud booms and no presents to be bought.

Have a great weekend, ladies!!!!

Hsin-Yi said...

I'm with Ellie. Opening Day is a Holiday in this household. My husband eagerly anticipates it all winter and there is no way we can make plans for anything else, but to have friends over and watch the games! It's our unofficial start to summer.

Personally, I like any holiday that gives me a 3-day weekend.

Anonymous said...

I am with Ellie. Everything good begins on Opening Day. My favorite baseball quote (can't remember whose) is that there are only two seasons: baseball and the VOID.

Like Beth, her brother also likes Thanksgiving best--nothing to do but eat!

My most bitter-sweet Thanksgiving was a couple of years ago. Beth and I were alone together and so went to a very nice dinner out in downtown San Diego. We were both in sad trasitions--me having lost my beloved Walt and Beth her marriage and was without her girls for the first time. We held each other together and enjoyed the meal, especially the 3 different wines that came with it!
Beth's Mom, Pat

your Oriole loving friend in Central PA said...

Opening Day certainly is a Holiday...why else would your dad get to spend it at Memorial Field instead of work. Unless your dad is Ray Ackerman's dad and he lets you leave school to join him for the Holiday celebration.
I was thrilled to be in San Diego for this year's opening day and I went solo and savored the atmosphere (all except all those Dodger fans they let in the stadium) Now that the Padres have won 10 straight, I wish I could call all the naysayers I encountered and share with them how my beloved Orioles are doing.
and I must add
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETH!! (I'm thinking that this year's celebration is a big improvement over that last one we spent together)