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Monday is Memorial Day.  It is almost “un-American” if you do not spend a good portion of the weekend outside grilling with friends and family.  Lainey and I will be spending the majority of the weekend with friends and family at the lake house – celebrating the beginning of summer and honoring those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy every day.

With our group, food and drink are integral parts of our fellowship.  While we will spend the majority of the weekend outside, most of it will be centered around the dining room table.  At the lake house, the dining room table is a bamboo dining set that was my great-grandmother’s in Florida (it belongs in a house on the water).  The table has a pretty simple design and the rattan chairs are pretty simple, too.  Other than the fact it is old and part of the family, there really isn’t anything special about this table and chairs.  But, what makes the table special are the memories that are created when we congregate around it. At different points during a trip, this table will be covered in food (we generally eat outside but use the dining table as a buffet) and will become the center of a fierce game of “Apples to Apples” (our group is too competitive for “CatchPhrase”).  When we look back at photos from this weekend and the others we have out here, this table will be in the background for a lot of them — just like it is in the background of a lot of my mom’s childhood memories of her grandparents.

dining1 dining2

With the news from the Boston Marathon Bombing, West Fertilizer Explosion, and most recently the Moore Tornado, I have become reflective and grateful.  I’m so grateful that I have family and friends who not only fill the lake house, but fill my heart.  I reflect on loved ones I’ve lost and think about those I never met who lost their lives protecting me and everything I hold dear.

Happy Memorial Day and welcome to Summer!