Originally created 05/29/06

Dial up a Memorial Day party



Today is Memorial Day, a time for us all to honor our war dead. That's a pretty tall order, and growing taller all the time, so it's an all-day affair.

On a much less important level, today also marks the unofficial beginning of summer, as measured by school vacations and the Lighting of the Barbecue Grill.

Officially, of course, June 21 is the first day of summer (which, as we all know, comes in with a solstice and goes out with an equinox), but humans tend to celebrate summer as often as they can, unfettered by mere calendars and planetary migrations.

Anyway, we live in an area where summer commences somewhere around Groundhog Day and lasts to Halloween and even beyond. If you're like me, you've already fired up your grill this spring for the ceremonial plumping of the wiener.

Today, though, people begin using the word "summer" in their daily conversations, wearing white and enhancing their awareness of the great outdoors by shopping for chicken parts, watermelons and bags of ice.

Tonight, stuffed with the ribs of various species, sated with cold beverages, they will go into their yards and set off firecrackers. My question is: Why?

Today, after all, is not Independence Day, when fireworks make sense and are, in fact, a necessary evil. Tonight is not New Year's Eve, when people are in high spirits and understandably want to touch a match to an explosive device.

No, it's Memorial Day, which to me is the holiday equivalent of a funeral wake. Speeches, sure; flags, certainly; but fireworks just seem out of place.

I'm not being noble; it's just that fireworks get on my nerves. What's more important, they send convulsions through my dog, who doesn't know the exploding firecrackers are not thunder - and she shudders at a hint of thunder.

She certainly doesn't connect the sound of fireworks with flashes in the sky, because she never looks up that far. Grass is her horizon. Space invaders could be dribbling from the sky and she would be clueless. Let thunder boom, though, and she starts shaking like the gelatin pup that she is.

I have an alternative way to observe the day that will give you your fireworks (Yippee! It's Memorial Day!) and give my poor pooch some rest. It involves the cell phone, that device that has been surgically implanted into your palm. (If you don't believe me, just look down. See, I told you!)

Can you tell that I place cell phones right up there with fireworks on my list of major inconveniences? It pains me to even write about them, so perhaps I am being a little noble, after all.

Many cell phones today have cameras and can display photos or even short movies. (This is, after all, almost summer in the 21st century.) Tonight, I want all of you who feel inclined to light up the sky to pick up your phones instead.

Download pictures of firework displays, step outside, view the pictures and send them to fellow summer worshippers. Glue your eyes to your teeny-tiny telephone screens and, as the colorful photos appear, moan "ooh" and "aah."

You will be celebrating the waning moments of another holiday, my dog will breathe easy and, really, isn't that what Memorial Day is all about?

Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419 or glynn.moore@augustachronicle.com.