Monday, May 30th, 2016


As a reader and a writer I love when I or anyone else uses the just right word.
There’s a term for it –‘mot juste’.  I experience a real sense of relief or ‘aha’ when I hit on the just right word. And I just did it when I wrote the word ‘melancholy’.  (It’s so 1890’s)

I have been melancholy this week. (Look at that word long enough it looks darn weird.)
I have had some reason for worry and sadness lately but this melancholy was different.
It wasn’t attached to anything specific. “Pensive sadness”. Yep, that is it. Mot juste.
Memorial Day may have brought it on. First of all, I’m from the Midwest where we celebrated Decoration Day and boy did we decorate. We put red, white and blue crepe paper through our bike spokes and stuck American flags in the lawn up the sidewalks. By “we” I mean the 36 kids that lived on my one block. Small block too. Then we walked 15 blocks to Broadway for the parade. We were a swarm of kids. Our parents came too but we weren’t aware of them. In the afternoon, we had our own parade riding our bikes up and down the street, around and around. We were proud of being proud of our country. We were aware that people were remembering family members who had died and we were sad when Taps was played at the park monument. (My brother who played the trumpet played Taps. I would bring a lemon and pretend to suck it to try to make his mouth water so he would flub up.) 

In other words:
We were not inured to the horror of war.
We loved celebrating the red,white and blue with no skepticism or irony.
We were safe safe safe to roam.
Our parents were background figures that held steady and didn’t live our lives.
We were, oh, so wonderfully innocent.
It’s a rainy day here in Maine.
Barbecues aren’t enough to honor our dead from war.
I’ll stay with my melancholy.
It’s my honoring.


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