My parents used to live in Ireland.
Yesterday Pastor Ron preached a sermon about how, once Memorial Day became a moveable feast, as it were, so that everybody (except people working in churches, by the way) could have a long weekend, people stopped remembering what it was really about. He cited car and mattress sales as evidence, and I tend to agree with him. Yesterday I spent a little time remembering a fallen hero and his family. But I still have to say that, since we haven’t had any servicemen or -women in my known family in a very long time, if ever, Memorial Day often means different things to me. Like, five years ago my lovely cousin Phill was killed in a motorcycle accident. This year, it means my parents don’t live in Ireland anymore.
First I myself lived in London for five and a half years, and when I moved back to the family Homestead, TheBro and his then-relatively-new bride were staying in my parents’ house with them. I moved in and there were five of us–all adults, and it’s a decent-sized house, but not that decent-sized. So I moved into an apartment in a neighbouring town, but evidently that wasn’t enough for them, because it wasn’t long after that that TheBro and Sister-in-Lu moved to the Midwest and my parents hopped back over the Pond in the direction from which I had returned, and suddenly, there was the family Homestead, all empty-like, so I moved back in there myself. (In case you don’t know them, I should tell you I feel loved by my family and like to joke about their abandoning me, but I know they didn’t really on purpose. Right? Right?) For a while there was Roommate-Sarah, too, but then she got married, and so for the last four or five years, it’s just been me.
Now I’m married myself, and living somewhere near, but “else,” and although technically it’s not because I moved, within the next few hours (if they aren’t already), my parents will jet across the Atlantic and, at least for the time being, move back into their own home. I’ve been going back and forth between their home and mine for the last two and a half months, trying gradually to incorporate my stuff from the Homestead to the established digs here. At one point I emptied out the Homestead fridge, and, at my parents’ very sensible request, unplugged it.
“Did you unplug it?” asked Mom-Elizabeth (not my mom) when we were hanging out a week or two ago, “If you left the doors closed with the fridge unplugged, it will get mouldy.”
Let it be known: she was not wrong.
I opened the freezer with not a little apprehension, and discovered dark, multi-coloured blobs all over the interior. It smelled really . . . interesting . . . as well. Kind of like old fish. I wiped at a blob and a cloud of spores floated away. Great. I fought the blobs, and I won, but it sure took awhile, and I’m not convinced that the box of baking soda I threw in there with the meal’s-worth of food I had bought them will have fully deodorised the fridge by the time they open it this evening. But I tried to tidy things up a bit, and I hope they know and can tell, somehow, that I’m glad they’re back. It took me three years to readjust to the US after London, so I expect they’ll have some significant readjustments to make, too. But at least there’s some family around for them, just like there should be on Memorial Day.