On the way to a Memorial Day party, two children reminisce about last year's fiasco.
|The day was warm, and the street was quiet. Flags and buntings in red, white, and blue fluttered lazily in what little wind there was.|
On the porch, Lina and Colby were trying to stay cool by not having to move too much, since their mother wouldn't let them in.
"You two need fresh air," she had said while literally trying to shove Colby outside.
"I know," protested Colby, "but that out there is stale air!"
"Ha ha, you can't convince me. Your cousins Reghan and Stella are having a neighborhood pool party and your uncle Charles is going to barbecue. I said you two were going to come, so you are going."
"How can Uncle Charles have a pool party? They don't even have a pool." asked Lina.
"They're going to set up by the river. The big river, with the fish. You know it. Now go get your swimsuits, and the sunscreen and bug spray. You'd better be seen there, or you are going to have to get your exercise by jogging around the block every day. I'll let you decide."
So now, here they were, on the porch, trying to decide.
"The pool party might not be so bad." said Colby. "I'm dying in this heat."
"Yeah, but swimming with fish? No thank you. And I can't stand Reghan. She thinks she's so much better than us just because she's thirteen and Uncle Charles lets her do whatever she wants now."
"But water! We'd be cool and refreshed. And besides, we'll have to go there anyway if we don't want to jog around the block."
"That? Mom was just kidding. That won't happen."
Lina gulped. "Let's go to the pool party."
The two children got off the porch and grabbed the bottles of sunscreen and bug spray. On the way to the river, they continued their discussion.
"Remember how bad the last Memorial Day party was?" joked Colby.
"Ugh." giggled Lina. "Uncle Peter is no good at hosting parties. But they have to let him because they rotate between them every year."
"And we had it in the cemetery because that was the only spot with a green big enough for Uncle Peter to play cornhole at a distance of a hundred metres."
Lina shivered. "And there were all those flags everywhere, remember? It didn't feel right."
"We weren't anywhere near the graves."
"I know, but still. Memorial Day flags at the cemetery?"
"We were remembering the dead, weren't we? And besides, that wasn't the worst thing about the party. After the picnic, Uncle Peter had another brilliant idea."
"What was it? I was too far to see it clearly, and it seemed too crazy for me to want to get closer."
"Uncle Peter attached a pair of faux horns and a propellor motor to an old lawnmower. He wanted to have a fake bullfight."
"I saw a ring of adults around that. Don't tell me they were enjoying it."
"Nope. They were trying to wrestle the machine off and knock some sense into him."
Lina laughed. "Is that what that was?"
"Yep. But there was more wrong with the party. Don't you remember?"
"Oh, I do now. The DJ?"
"Uncle Peter thought he was so cool. 'He's so hip', because he had a list of the latest songs."
"He called it the 'Summer Playlist' because it was supposed to bring in summer weather."
"I don't know what was 'summer' about it; as I remember, it was just love songs from the 1990's."
The two children heard the sound of laughter and splashing and smelled the smoke of a barbecuing grill.
"We're here." said Colby. "I'm going to go jump in the river. What are you going to do?"
"I know exactly what I'm going to do."
Colby was surprised by the hint of steely resolution in her voice. "What?"
Lina smiled and shrugged "I'm going to challenge him to such a long game of cornhole he won't have a chance to mess this Memorial Day party up."