I used to love Memorial Day. So it didn’t compare to the good holidays, like Christmas, Thanksgiving, or New Year’s Day, but Memorial Day had some fun traditions of its own in my family, plus it marked the official beginning of summer, so there was a lot to love about it. Growing up, Memorial Day was like an even better fourth of July, because it shared all of the good traditions with independence day, like cooking out and spending the day at my grandparents house, while neglecting the worst aspects of the holiday, like shooting fireworks that are unreasonably loud. Yes, Memorial Day used to be great, but now, without the cook outs or the anticipation of the whole summer ahead free of responsibility, it has just become another Monday off work for me, as mundane as Presidents and Columbus Day, but this year, I was determined to get back to my roots a little bit and to rekindle (hey that’s my name! (and an amazon product)) some of the love I once had for the last Monday in May.
If my apartment complex wasn’t run by a North Korean dictator, perhaps I could have fired up the grill and had my own cook out on our balcony like a true American, but as it were, grills are strictly prohibited at my apartments, but I wasn’t going to let that deter me. Not being able to cook at home isn’t the ideal situation, I know, but I still had several other attractive options, like going to the park and using one of the crusty public grills that the soldiers used to cook on in the evenings during the civil war, or I could go eat at a restaurant. My wife and I ended up going Chili’s because what we really had to choose between was getting an incurable disease from the outdoor grill, or getting bad service, and while getting violently ill sounded like a lot of fun, we thought it might put a damper on Memorial Day. Maybe we’ll try it some other time.
At Chili’s, I looked at the menu trying to decide on what to get, always torn between getting something I’ve had before that I know is good, or trying something new. Since I’d been craving cook out food all day, I felt that getting a burger was the responsible thing to do, so I went with a new addition to the menu called the Chili’s burger. The Chili’s burger is exactly what it sounds like, a hamburger with chili on top. It was okay but not great, and it’s probably not something I would ever get again, unless of course I’m craving a burger covered in chili, which has happened exactly zero times in my life, but maybe one day I will. It’s not like the burger was bad or anything, but the chili was the overpowering taste of the dish, so I didn’t get that all-American burger taste that I had so been hoping would transport me back to Memorial Day’s past, but that’s okay. I’m just lucky I got to enjoy a nice meal with my wife in a free country, something that wouldn’t have been possible without the sacrifice of so many men and woman who give their lives in service to our country. So maybe next year, while you’re throwing steaks on the grill or hanging out in the pool, take a minute to think about those people and the sacrifices they made, because that’s really what the day is all about.