My child just returned from a few days in Colorado. The Rocky Mountains were beautiful, she said, and although it rained during her stay, she said it was brown and dry. During an extended lay-over in Dallas, she called, saying she looked forward to green.

I write this from a chair facing the fresh yellow green of Ohio spring, although the wind is heavy with sudden heat and the sky is a pale blue that we usually see later in summer. My tastebuds are tingling from a weekend of Memorial Day feasts.

I don’t know what you had at your house or picnic table, but those that I frequented held various grilled goods, coleslaw, potato salad, sliced tomatoes, dips and chips, baked beans and some sort of decadent summer squash and cheese casserole. The pie crust gene runs strong in my family, and wild berries are put up each summer to fill the crusts, so two kinds of pie were divvied up for dessert.

All this was consumed out in the aforementioned green. As we ate and talked, enjoying the company of relatives who travelled in for the long weekend from various points in the country, bicyclists pedaled past. Two farmers worked the field. We remembered family who couldn’t make the trip as well as those who never will again. And we were not, are not, afraid.

Thanks to my grandpa who milked his Jersey cows and worked his fields during wartime and another grandfather who served on a Navy vessel in the Pacific, we could take an after-dinner nap in the wide open if we had a mind to. Because my father-in-law carried a radio in Japan, as well as a wristful of shrapnel and half a lifetime of nightmares, we could listen for birdsong instead of marching feet.

The reason for my child’s flight to Colorado was to accompany a former classmate to the Air Force Academy Ring Dance, a gala during which cadets receive their cadet class ring, if I understood correctly. My child had her pretty dress and Cinderella slippers, as did other invited guests, but the young men and women of the Academy were the stars of the evening. I thank them, and other service people like them, for making it safe for me to sit in the grass beside my father’s grave on Memorial Day and not fear the planes that pass overhead.

I trust that I won’t be remembering any of them this time next year.