“On thy graves the rain shall fall from the eyes of a mighty nation!
Long as the sun doth shine upon it …
Long as the stars do gleam on it …
Shall memory come to dream upon it,”
~ Thomas William Parsons 1816-1892
It’s Memorial Day weekend and considered the “unofficial beginning of summer” although the “real deal” is still a few weeks away. Weather-wise, the overall trend is for clear, warm and dry days to outnumber the cloudy, cool and wet ones of spring.
As our big kids begin to return home from college, the little kids are biting at the bit to be out of school for summer vacation. Graduation ceremonies, award banquets, scholarship presentations, camp orientations and end-of-year swim parties fill the calendar pages. Time to buy bathing suits as they are quickly disappearing off the racks!
Thinking Memorial Day was still a week away, we tried to make weekend reservations on the Central Coast. We had hoped to attend the first birthday of our great-nephew. What a joke! In fact, when I inquired about availability, motel front desk people actually laughed. Not really too funny; in fact not funny at all.
First off, there were no vacancies. Maybe, if we had booked six months in advance, there were rooms (nothing fancy) to be had – going for $225 per night with a three-day minimum stay! So with presents now in the mail, we will stay put in La Crescenta. With less traffic and fewer crowds, it is a good place to be.
This weekend, many will head to the beach to be greeted by cool foggy conditions. The same is forecast for the inland valleys, including the foothills. Where is last week’s warm weather when you really want it?
In the spirit of the day, parades, picnics and barbecues will still be enjoyed. A dip in the pool? Well, maybe.
The exact origins of Memorial Day are disputed. While this particular version is largely forgotten, Yale University historian David Blight believes it to be authentic:
May, 1, 1865 Charleston, South Carolina
A group of former slaves dug up more than 250 Union soldiers from a mass grave at a Confederate prison site, and gave them a proper burial. Ten-thousand black residents, white missionaries, school children and Union soldiers gathered with armfuls of roses to place on these now individual graves. Amidst the crowd were five black preachers reciting scripture and a local children’s choir singing spirituals and the “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
By 1868, May 30 was dubbed Decoration Day. Over the years, the holiday expanded beyond honoring only fallen Civil War soldiers to Americans who died fighting in all wars. It was also renamed Memorial Day.
Our weather, as mentioned, will not be summer-like for the holiday weekend. “May gray-June gloom” will dominate, dropping daytime temperature to below normal. A low off the coast could generate drizzles across the San Gabriels.
Gentle breezes will wave our flags proudly.
~With deep appreciation, Happy Memorial Day.
Sue Kilpatrick is a Crescenta Valley resident and Official Skywarn Spotter for the National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.