Old-Fashioned Memorial Day Parade

Parades…barbecues…family…friends…more parades.  Hoorah, the official weekend that kicks off Memorial Day has arrived and that means vacation planning and a day trip frame of mind…or maybe it doesn’t.

For every up, there’s a down; the Yin and Yang side of life.  Perhaps, you’re feeling down due to experiencing a recent death or relationship breakup.  You’re certainly not alone in these rough economic times if you feel the piggy bank squealing to be fed.  Or maybe you just suffer utter ennui, because somewhere along the way, your world, once painted in vibrant hues, has suddenly bled into a black and white portrait.

Don’t worry, even the Day Trip Queen, many moons ago, could not get too much farther than under the sheets of her full-size bed.  So how did life change (now it’s hard for me to go TO BED!) so completely for me?  Baby steps.  Acting as if.  Getting professional help. Getting into the company of (happier) fellows.  Most of all, digging my head out of my naval long enough to get a little gratitude.  The most earth-shattering thing that I found out about gratitude was that you could still feel crappy AND have gratitude.  For instance, I did not like Memorial Day parades, but I appreciated what they stood for.  So I gathered up a few Pollyannas and let them rejoice for me; about three parades later, I was marching in the parade!

So, regardless of how you feel, it’s a good weekend to get a bit of gratitude, if for nothing else that we live in the BEST country in the world and there was, and is, a lot of blood shed for that honor.

Here’s a list of things to help you get out of the doldrums, put a bit of zest in the days ahead, and, surely, rejigger.*

  1.  Go to an out-of-town Memorial Day parade.  You don’t have to drive hours away, but what about twenty minutes?  Can you hop a train to another town to experience the parade?
  2. Scratch the barbecue, take the family to a new restaurant, try something exotic like Indian food.
  3. (My husband and daughter will love this one.)  Don’t eat meat.  Go vegetarian for the day.  Reinforce your stance by driving to a farm and taking in the sights of the sweet LIVE animals. 
  4. Call a friend and take an impromptu day trip to the country if you live in the city or to the city if you live in the country; to a place you haven’t been and would not normally go.
  5. Hit a museum; many are not only open during Memorial Day, but some may have special events going on.  For instance, the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, CT, has a lot of special events going on this year because 2010 marks the centennial of Mark Twain’s death, the 175th anniversary of his birth, and the 125th anniversary of the publication of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in the United States.
  6. Shop at a mom-and-pop store where you haven’t been; buy something for someone else, but don’t spend more than twenty dollars.
  7. No matter where you go, if you don’t see a vet to say “thanks,”  look up to the sky and say it with a big smile.  You’ll be surprised how it will light up the spots in your world that may be a little drab.

Oodles of Poodles for Vets

*  “Quietly but noticeably over the past year, Americans have rejiggered their lives to elevate experiences over things. Because of the Great Recession, a recent New York Times/CBS News poll has found, nearly half of Americans said they were spending less time buying nonessentials, and more than half are spending less money in stores and online,” In Recession, Americans Doing More, Buying Less; NYT, January 2, 2010.