Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Decoration Day

Thank God it’s Monday, again. I personally look forward to all Mondays. They’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you.



As the last Monday in May (for 2024), today is National Memorial Day – also known as “Decoration Day”. I may enjoy that it’s a Monday, again; however, I don’t think it’s right to say happy Memorial Day, today, as I heard a young greeter tell me, at my local Meijer store, last year at this time.

Memorial Day isn’t like most other holidays that are happy occasions. It wasn’t founded in joy, with the promise of bringing delight to one and all, like Christmas. Thus, I want to address the very special meaning this day holds, as it tends to get lost among the unofficial summertime celebrations and activities.

Commercialism has disguised the true meaning of this day, mostly thanks to retail marketing. Memorial Day has become more known as the unofficial start of summer than the rememberance day it was meant to be. Too many people forget that this is supposed to be a day of solace and consolation, especially for all the families who’ve lost their veteran loved ones.

This holiday always generates a burst of sales for beach and swim gear, barbecues and accessories, as well as yard décor and outdoor games. Patriotic colors are abundant. Everything gets decorated in red, white, and blue – now and throughout the summer. However, that’s not why Memorial Day is also known as “Decoration Day”.


Following the Civil War, people were noticeably honoring fallen soldiers more than ever, by decorating their graves with fresh spring flowers. That’s why it was initially called Decoration Day. The official Memorial Day observance was first recognized as a U.S. federal holiday in May 1971.

It was established to remember and honor all those who’ve died, serving in our Armed Forces. They gave the ultimate sacrifice – their lives – to protect our country and our freedoms. My heart goes out to their surviving families. There’s a lot of great information about Memorial Day’s history at Check it out.

Another website with fascinating Memorial Day food-for-thought is, where I found some great Memorial Day traditions to incorporate into our current commercialized celebrations, which this day has come to encompass.

We’re free to celebrate our many freedoms, as we please, but let us never forget at what cost we have those freedoms. With that in mind, I want to share the following seven deep-rooted traditions, which I learned from, to always remember our heroes.


  1. Visit a cemetery and decorate a veteran’s grave (or many) with U.S. flags and floral wreaths or bouquets.
  2. Attend a Memorial Day ceremony held in any one of the veterans’ cemeteries across the country.
  3. Recognize and thank our living veterans for their services and sacrifices. Visit a veterans’ home to talk with the residents, as they all have stories to tell and time on their hands.
  4. Donate letters (and “thank you” cards), shelf-stable food, and non-perishable goods to organizations collecting for care packages to send to our overseas troops.
  5. Attend or participate in a Memorial Day parade, honoring our veterans – for they gave all so that we’re able to celebrate our freedoms.
  6. In lieu of the “National Moment of Remembrance”, pause for a couple of minutes at 3:00 p.m., today, to honor the memories and sacrifices of our fallen military members (and their surviving families).
  7. Put a U.S. flag on or in front of your home – as well as a military branch’s flag or the POW/MIA flag – to wave proudly!

Among any one of these things (or in all of them), there’s something that each of us can and should put into practice to truly honor and observe the real meaning of Memorial Day, which doesn’t have anything to do with summer. By the way, Summer doesn’t actually start until June 20th.

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 4)


WE ALL EXPECT life to be good to us – most of the time. That isn’t too much to ask, now, is it? But when things don’t work out the way we had planned or [as we had] hoped… the tendency is there to feel [that] life gave us lemons.

The best experiences often come out of the biggest disappointments. So, when life gives you lemons, you have to make lemonade – turning a ‘let-down’ into a ‘set-up’…

Norman Vincent Peale once said that God never closes a door that he hasn’t opened a window. But the opportunities that are available to us aren’t always the most obvious when we’re in the throes of self-pity or weary from overwork…

You certainly won’t hear opportunity knocking at the front door if you’re in the backyard, looking for four-leaf clovers. To seize every opportunity to express your very best effort is the kind of motivation with which I grew up and have passed on to our five, now-adult, children.

When they all lined up for this Memorial Day snapshot [in 1969 (below)], before we left to march in the big parade in beautiful, downtown Algonac; little did we know how beautifully our [lives] would turn out. How little did we know what big challenges would tempt us to give up [and] to succumb to defeat.


The true reason we observe this holiday and the patriotic traditions that were once practiced in honor of it, is becoming lost. Many are trying to rectify that. Numerous American towns, big and small alike, have erected local memorials to honor their own local veteran heroes, who are now gone.

Traditionally, they’ll honor their local veterans with special memorial services, placing floral wreaths and small American flags on their graves or on a dedicated monument. Some communities have parades to honor their fallen heroes..

Here, in St. Clair, there’s always a parade downtown at 1:00 p.m. All the local groups participate – the police and fire departments, the high school band, the Scouts; and, of course, the local living veterans. The parade is traditionally followed by a commemorative service, where a wreath is placed at the town’s Veterans’ Memorial.

The service ends with a rendition of “Taps” and participation in the “National Moment of Remembrance” at 3:00 p.m. Afterward, many locals usually observe the rest of the day with pot-luck picnics or family barbecues. By the way, May is National Barbecue Month.

For some reason, Americans always like to find ways to “celebrate”, even the most somber of holidays – with optimism, happiness, and hope – but most of all with food.

I mentioned, in one of my previous blog posts, that Memorial Day is one of those holidays that doesn’t make Wikipedia’s top 10 most celebrated Public Holidays in the United States.

On a side note, I remember over 34 years ago a specific Memorial Day (May 28th, 1990), when a ‘CNN News’ crew came out to Mom and Dad’s house in St. Clair to record an interview with Mom, about being the Secret RecipesTM Detective.

I recall it being very sunny and hot that day (while I was six months pregnant with my 3rd child). Some of the family had gathered later for a smorgasbord of picnic foods that Mom had whipped up for the interview – such as chicken, coleslaw, biscuits, and a variety of salads and finger foods.

Many families like taking advantage of this extra-long weekend, by going on “unofficial summer” vacations. By the way, most kids will soon be starting their long summer break from school (some have, already).

Incidentally, June starts on Saturday; which is National Camping Month and National Great Outdoors Month, among other things. During Michigan’s unofficial summertime [Memorial Day through Labor Day], tourism is always on the rise.

There’s so much to do in Michigan’s great outdoors, May through October, which is the best time for Michigan camping getaways. There are about 1,190 licensed campgrounds in this beautiful state. I love camping. Someday, my husband and I will graduate to a camper, like Mom and Dad had.

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 100)


SINCE OUR CAMPING experiences with the national RV organization, ‘Good Sam’, we have truly adopted their slogan… ‘In Good Sam there are no strangers – only friends you haven’t met yet!’ How very true.

What would we have done had we not been blessed, with meeting Irv and Helen Henze [or] Helen and Chuck Mogg? How much we miss Chuck since he passed away. Friends are those people who know everything there is to know about you, but like you anyhow!

To the Good Sam RV Club (MI & OH Branches): Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet with and talk to people from all over the country, relative to their recipe interests and food needs… Since our camping experiences with… Good Sam, [Paul and I] have truly adopted their slogan, ‘In Good Sam, there are no strangers – only friends we haven’t met yet!’” – from Gloria Pitzer (1989)

Until we graduate to a camper life style, I’ve learned to comfort camp with tents. I’ve also learned how to pack a lot of stuff into a small amount of space. Pictured below is my extensive camping check list, all of which fits in our Pontiac sedan (as pictured above).

I am not paid to advertise for any companies but I am brand specific on a few things because, from my personal experiences, they work the best – Dawn dish soap, SOS (soap filled steel pads), and Kingsford Matchlite charcoal.

As I once wrote in another blog post a couple of years ago, “April had showers that brought us May flowers, but the month of June can’t come too soon!” Happy unofficial summer…


In honor of tomorrow, being National Brisket Day, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for “Beef Brisket”; as seen in her self-published cookbook… Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 14). As always, asking only for proper credit, if you care to share it.



P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…


May’s foodie observances include… American Cheese Month, National Asparagus Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Hamburger Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, and National Strawberry Month.


Other May observances include… Better Speech and Language Month, National Stroke Awareness Month, Older Americans Month, National Get Caught Reading Month,  National Photography Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

Today is also… National Grape Popsicle Day.

Tomorrow is… National Beef Burger Day and National Hamburger Day.

May 29th, is… National Coq Au Vin Day! Plus, as the last Wednesday in May (for 2024), it’s also… National Senior Health & Fitness Day.

Thursday, May 30th, is… National Creativity Day, National Water a Flower Day, and National Mint Julep Day.

Friday, May 31st, is… National Macaroon Day, National Utah Day, and National Smile Day.

Saturday kicks off the month of June, which celebrates… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Candy Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, National Soul Food Month, National Rose Month, and National Turkey Lovers Month, among other things.

June 1st, is also… National Olive Day, National Say Something Nice Day, National Pen Pal Day, and National Hazelnut Cake Day. Plus, as the first Saturday in June (and running through the second Saturday, for 2024), it’s… International Clothesline Week and National Fishing and Boating Week.

June 2nd, is… National Rotisserie Chicken Day and National Rocky Road Day. Plus, as the first Sunday in June (for 2024), it’s the start of… National Gardening Week and Community Health Improvement Week.


…22 down, 30 more to go!

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