Grant and I were on the roof Saturday morning, repairing some damage caused by high winds Friday night, when Brother Jerry stopped by to invite us to the Sunday morning Memorial Day service at Wallis Park.
I wasn’t particularly excited about going, but Grant was very keen on the idea and seemed genuinely pleased that we have such an event here in Coldwater.
It was a nice ceremony. A handful of uniformed veterans — including Bill Swinney, Brother Jerry, and most of the denizens of the liars’ table at Casa de Jesus — placed wreaths on the veterans’ memorial, lowered the flag to half-staff, and gave the fallen soldiers a 21-gun salute. A trumpeter from the middle-school band played “Taps,” and a little girl whose dad was killed in Iraq read “High Flight” (the poem about slipping “the surly bonds of earth” that Ronald Reagan quoted after the Challenger explosion) and then released a single white dove, which made everybody cry.
At the end of the ceremony, Brother Jerry asked the veterans in the audience to stand as he read off a list of wars.
When he got to Desert Storm, Grant stood up. I nearly fell out of my seat.
Word on the street now is that the new principal is a bonafide war hero. Grant says he just drove a truck and pushed papers, neither of which he regards as particularly heroic, but Coldwater loves its veterans, so he had a pretty steady stream of people coming up to thank him for his service and welcome him to town after the ceremony.
I spent Sunday afternoon doing laundry while Grant barbecued pork steaks. I threw together a salad and some mac and cheese and baked beans to go with the meat, and we put on a pretty good feed for all the guests that evening.
Grant left shortly before noon on Monday. I miss him already. I can’t wait for tomorrow to hurry up and get over with so he can load up a U-Haul trailer and move out here for good. He still hasn’t found a house to move into. You can guess how sad it makes me to think of him living under my roof for a couple of weeks while he locates property of his own….