Today, in Korea, some people have off work, and others don’t. My daughter was lucky enough to get it off, but she has work to do at home, so she is working at home rather than really taking the day off. My Korean son in law didn’t get the day off. I asked him what the Koreans normally do on this day, and he said they go to the graves and remember the soldiers. That is about what Americans do on Memorial day too. I have been to grandparents’ graves with my mother on Memorial day. However, in the Ohio Valley, I married into a huge family that is basically a tribe. They do something a little different on Memorial day. They celebrate all weekend, and it is a great weekend.
This family is huge! There were fourteen children who grew up on an eighty acre dairy farm together. They are all grandparents now, and perhaps some are great grandparents since I was the youngest of that generation, and they all got married and had kids younger than I did. These were not my brothers and sisters, but my brother and sister in laws. Several of the fourteen bought pieces of that eighty acre farm and built their house out there, and several of the others live close by. We bought the remaining woods that were left. They set up a campground that is next to the front yard of a one of the sisters and one of the nieces who built houses there. The niece actually sold the house to her younger brother, and he lives there now. Another niece built her house nearby and the campground is close to her backyard. The campground is also bordered by the woods.
They put up electricity hook ups and water hookups on that camp ground. They each own campers. They park their campers in a circle like an old wagon train, and the whole family can get together all weekend. The kids often times like to sleep in tents. In the middle of the campers, they build a big campfire where they all sit around in lawn chairs in the evenings roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. I also learned from them to use bread and jam or pie filling and a special pie making metal thing you use on the campfire and make a pie to eat. Some use them to make pizzas with double crusts. Sometimes, the women get together and make a huge pot of beans on the fire, and they use that as a meal one evening for everyone with everyone adding things like corn bread and fried potatoes.
They spend the weekend together outside visiting and playing. There is a hill nearby, and the small kids take tricycles and get on top of the hill and let them coast down the hill. The older kids get those four wheel bike type things and ride those around for fun. Sometimes, someone begins a game of volleyball. That is one thing I did with them. Sometimes, one of the aunts goes into her camping trailer and makes brownies or something like that and comes out handing them to everyone. Also, since they often have students graduating from high school in the family, one evening may be dedicated to giving the high school students a graduation party, and they all bring gifts.
Often, friends show up because they know this group will be there all weekend camping, and they will have a chance to visit with all of them. Sometimes friends decided to camp with them. One of the brothers in law is too old now, but he used to bring his band and they would play music and sing for the group. Sometimes, the young ones would get together and go swimming. At times, they began playing pranks on one another. The young ones loved to pray pranks on my husband because he was obnoxious. I opened the door to our camper once and a bucket of water almost fell on me because they had positioned it there to fall on him when he opened the door, but I opened the door instead of him.
Most of the people in the group are Christians, so one Sunday morning, they would organize a church worship ceremony for all of them to take part in There is no drinking at these things. It is all just good clean fun. Even the ones who are not Christians understand they can’t drink when they are with this group. I have actually seen one who wasn’t a Christian run off a man who tried to join who had been drinking. She was trying to protect the sanctity of the group. Some time during the weekend, groups of them gets together and go of visiting graves. One morning, several of them usually meet really early and go to a breakfast buffet somewhere together in town. They just enjoy being together all weekend.
This group from the Ohio Valley in the United States really knows how to spend Memorial day. They get together as a group like that a few times a year at the old farm where the older ones all grew up. The road that winds up through there is even named after the family. When I left the Ohio Valley, these times at the camp ground are one of the things I hated leaving behind me. The aunts used to get together and organize family functions for this group, but now, my oldest son is there organizing for them.