Last night Ernie and I were snuggled up in the media room together watching Next Food Network Star (I can't help myself) when Jair charged in to say that Owen told him to tell us the dryer was leaking. We kind of stared at him uncomprehendingly but it seemed urgent so we followed him to the kitchen to find Owen putting a towel down on the wet floor. Leo, of course, was sitting at the computer…no mere flood can come between him and the computer. The water seemed to be coming from the dishwasher…but we hadn't been using it. You know that feeling when you just can't make sense of something? We stared at the dishwasher, then the sink, opened the door below the sink, perplexed. Then Ernie saw that it was all over the counter too and he started picking things up and moving them when he got to……the now almost empty plastic container of gorgeous chicken broth that I had made earlier. Yes…we flooded our kitchen with chicken stock. DAMN.

Earlier in the day Ernie had pulled a cut up chicken out of the refrigerator. We always save the backs and throw them in the freezer for chicken stock. I felt like fussing in the kitchen so I told him to go ahead and throw the back from that chicken into my pretty yellow Le Creuset. I sauteed the fresh back til it was brown while I pulled all the other miscellaneous bits of chicken ouf of the freezer—the backs, the necks and the wing tips that had tucked away. I defrosted them and dumped them in with just a sprinkle of salt, pepper and cold water. Nothing else. I simmered it all for an hour or two and then strained it. It was gorgeous, utterly gorgeous. After it had cooled for awhile I poured it into a plastic container and left it on the counter to cool completely.

Yeah, well. Evidently I needed to replace that plastic container….  The kitchen smelled pretty good bathed in homemade chicken stock, although Leo of course thought it smelled disgusting.

Damn but that was some good looking chicken stock. Sigh.

On a brighter note, Ernie grilled the cut up chicken and my blackberry chipotle barbecue sauce was WONDERFUL on it! I made a slightly unsuccessful pesto of kale, arugula and spinach. Eh, well….win some, lose some….sometimes recipes DO help….

This morning we went out to the cemetery where my parents and Ernie's parents are buried. I had looked in all the listings for Memorial Day services and not seen this cemetery listed. I was a little disappointed but we cut some flowers and herbs (my Dad loved lemon balm) to bring with us to put at their gravestones. When we pulled up however we saw the Memorial service…complete with ragtag school band, Knights of Columbus, high schoolers reading Flanders Field and the Gettysburg Address, etc……I was SO happy. The boys were not as thrilled. I whispered at them sternly though and tried to explain that this is something we do for Grandpa and that it meant a lot to him and still does to many others. They were pretty good and even let me put my arm around them and kiss the tops of their heads a lot throughout it. Afterwards we walked to the other side of the cemetery. We put the lemon balm and lavendar in the vases of my parents' headstone and left some stalks of lavendar and perennial hollyhock at Ernie's folks' stone. We stood there a minute and headed back to the car.





As we drove through Rantoul I tried to explain to the boys why I think it's important to be there for these ceremonies. I tol them it's not that I necessarily support the wars but I support wholeheartedly those that serve our country. I told them about how Grandpa's sister ship in WWII was lost and that he was haunted by the loss of those men for the rest of his life. He paid a price for his time in the war, and because of that those who loved him probably paid a price too.  Of course I couldn't explain it all to them but I said that Grandpa had worried that no one would remember those men anymore and so we go and we stand through the talks and the prayers and the 21 gun salutes…we go for Grandpa and for all those men that Grandpa remembered. They listened and blinked at me with their big eyes. Then I got sniffily talking about my Dad and we all started laughing.

We drove through the fields and the wind blowing the corn made it look like green water. Stopped and took a couple of pictures on the way home to the guys' great distress.

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Happy Memorial Day. 



3 thoughts on “Memorial Day: Chicken Stock, the Knights of Columbus and Driving Through the Water

  1. Lovely. And yes, the KCs marked every holiday at my grandparent’s graves growing up as well, I remember them well.
    (I also mourn the loss of that lovely chicken stock.)