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The sky will still be a special shade of blue

The sky is always a unique shade of blue when it’s Memorial Day weekend.

It’s crisp, inspiring, full of promise.

There’s just something extra special about it.

That’s always been my theory anyway.

And I don’t think I’m the only one who sees it that way or feels out of sorts that all the traditions of this holiday weekend are evaporating.

“Canceled because of the coronavirus” is the catchword phrase of 2020.

Get out of Dodge, COVID-19.

My Memorial Day has always been deliriously busy, a special time in many special ways.

My sister Cathy and I, for example, have embraced the tradition of running in the Ogden Newspapers Half Marathon in Wheeling on Saturday morning — “running” maybe not the most accurate verb for what we attempt, but we’ve aways tried to remain upright and finish before they turn off the lights and roll up the race route in the Friendly City.

We’ve missed it the last couple of years because of schedule conflicts, but this year we were determined to get back on track and keep our aging age groups represented.

But the race got canceled, ensuring no danger of end-of-the-pack finishes this year.

The Memorial Day weekend always brings company to town, too, either a delegation from the Reynoldsburg and Avon Lake areas or from the Raleigh, N.C., area, meaning everything has to be just so, from flower beds to food.

And that means preparation and picnic time, which I just love because there’s no better eats than that first taste of picnic food. Talk about gourmet grub. Yum! Baked beans. Macaroni salad. Grilled burgers and hot dogs. Watermelon. Gimme’ a plate. I’m there.

Memorial Day itself is helping with a pancake breakfast at the Richmond United Methodist Church that swells with patrons who later line the village streets for a parade that’s always well attended, greatly supported and led by representatives of the Richmond American Legion Post 740 Honored Seven.

It’s followed by a service at Richmond Union Cemetery, where a speaker’s message always drives home the heart of this holiday, that we are free people because of the ultimate sacrifice of so many others.

But such events are all canceled.

It hasn’t really felt much like May to me at all, probably because this month that’s normally a whirlwind of club and school activity capped off by a hectic Memorial Day weekend is anything but that.

And yet the calendar doesn’t lie.

It’s May all right.

It’s Memorial Day weekend.

The peonia bushes in my yard are about to bloom, proof positive of that.

As I write this column Thursday evening, my Memorial Day weekend will include something new as I’m able to offer some help placing flags on the graves of veterans in the Richmond area, a tradition that was my dad’s.

I’m glad of that.

And I’m grateful that I have the freedom to make such choices and appreciate the holiday in a different way.

My guess is the sky will be that special shade of blue.

(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and community editor for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted atjkiaski@heraldstaronline.com.)

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