Memorial Day 1949

By Keith Gibson

Memorial Day was always celebrated on the REAL Memorial Day. Now days it has been moved up or back a few days to make a 3-4 day weekend.  We kids started the day by getting into our band uniforms.  The grade school and high school bands always marched in full uniform and a full band.  It was a solemn occasion and we all respected it very much.

After the parade, we made our way to the cemetery to lay flowers and wreaths on our ancestor’s graves.  The fallen military plots were ablaze with American flags.  It was a day of remembering those who gave their lives for us.

Then it was time for a very special treat.  Dad drove the car to the Purple Sage Drive-inn.  The car hop gals took our order, shortly, they set up a tray on the driver’s window with delicious hamburgers wrapped in wax paper.  Alongside the burgers were several mugs of cherry root beer in ice cold frosty mugs. I have never experienced, such a treat since.

The short trip back to McGill was filled with anticipation of the picnic scheduled for the afternoon.  We quickly exchanged our band uniforms for some picnic clothes.

While Mom and Dad got the food ready my brother Paul and I got the fishing poles and a shovel to dig worms.  Soon we piled into the Model A Ford coupe, with us kids in the rumble seat.  We had several sacks of rocks to toss at roadside targets on the way to Timber Creek.  Dad stopped at the little white doghouse sized, shed alongside the road just before KCC ranch.  I don’t know what it was used for. We piled out and dug some choice worms.

After several hours of great fishing and getting very wet from wading in the icy water, it was time for hot dogs, homemade potato salad, Kool-ade and finally some watermelon.  Later we sat around a campfire roasting marshmallows and drinking hot cocoa.  Soon it was time to dump some water on the fire and load up the Ford.  I remember how the only sound was the roar of the creek as we packed our gear to the car.  The sky was black with millions of stars shining brightly.  What a beautiful day we had just had.

It was too cool to ride home in the rumble seat, so we all crammed into the front seat and took advantage of the manifold heater.  This heater had no fan, It was a tube that fit over the exhaust manifold,  Air coming thru the radiator into the tube was warmed by the manifold and then into the cab.  The faster the car went the more hot air came into the cab.

Dad stopped several times to spotlight some deer.  They were all over the KCC fields as we chugged thru the gap.

Arriving back home we unloaded the car, wearily took a quick bath, looked for wood ticks and then with extreme effort climbed into bed and drifted off in peaceful slumber.  Twas the end of another beautiful day growing up in a wonderful era.