My memories of Memorial Day are strongly tied to my high school marching band. We didn’t have a big band (only about 30 kids) and we weren’t a great band. However, every year on Memorial Day, we’d pull out our marching band uniforms for the only time all year to march in the parade that would ultimately lead us to the cemetery in town. There we’d play the national anthem, God Bless America and then one of our trumpet players would play “taps”.
I remember that the crowd for the parade seemed to thin a little more every year. I remember that it always seemed to rain. I remember watching the members of the VFW as they stood at attention during “taps”, with their hats and jackets letting you know which war they’d fought in. I remember that, even though the crowd was small and the average age was at least 60, there was a pride and sadness that filled the people of my small community, remembering those who had fought and not come home, as well as those who had come home but were slowly leaving this world for the next one-by-one.
I’m not always the biggest supporter of war. However, I have respect for those who put their life on the line for what they think will make our country safer. A small parade and ceremony each year in a small town in rural Michigan, although I didn’t know it at the time, taught me that respect.
I think there are times in life when you realize everything is changing. Sometimes it’s for the good, sometimes it’s for the bad. But, either way, there are times when all the signals pointing to change are there.
I made this realization today, as I left my trusted Pontiac Sunfire at a dealership in exchange for a new (to me) Chevy Malibu. The Sunfire was my first car and has been with me through a lot: two years of high school filled with back and forth trips to Port Huron for dance practice, five years at Michigan State, a summer in Indiana, a summer in Kentucky and a 12-hour drive that moved me to Minnesota last year. While it was on its last leg, I can’t deny that the car has done well for me.
Selling the Sunfire and getting a new car, though, was more than just a vehicle change. It’s also a signal of change about where life is heading for me. And I think the direction is good. The new car means that I’ve made progress on my student loans, being responsible for the last year and pushing the Sunfire instead of making a new purchase the minute my cap and gown were off. The new car means I’m settling into my new job well. I have stability and enjoy what I’m doing. The new car means there’s a bright future ahead and that things are settling into place where they should be.
In the next few months, the BF will be moving out here and we’re looking for a new apartment. Change begets change and that looks to be the next piece in the ever-evolving puzzle. Who knows where the path will go next? Whichever way, I like the outlook so far.
(But who knows? That could be the new car fumes talking.)