The Day After The Holiday

Memorial-Day-festive-table-decorFestive Memorial Day

Today is Tuesday, the day after the long 3 day Memorial Day holiday, and things are starting to return to normal…All the people enmeshed in the web of work world have piled into their cars or trains or buses or subways and made the commute back to work, back to their desks and cubicles or auto repair stores, whatever……I did it myself for 45 years, so I certainly know how it feels…One thing is sure, there will not be much real work done today! Everybody will be either hung over or busy swapping stories about how they spent their weekend…

For myself, I spent my weekend in a different way…I stayed home for the first time in 5 years this Memorial Day weekend instead of visiting my daughter, since she is currently visiting me…I used to drive 3 hours up to her house in Northern rural California and BBQ in her back yard every year…It is a strange and wonderful thing about San Francisco, we are both blessed and cursed by our perpetual fog, the city is swathed in the fog all summer long and most of the spring, and the temperature at best may reach 60, but that is rare…

In comparison, when I used to drive up to my daughter’s house, just 150 miles away, the weather would always be in the high 80’s or 90’s for the traditional family get togethers, the “Big Three” BBQ days, like Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day festivities, but in San Francisco on those days it is always like foggy, chilly, in the mid 50’s maybe, and because of the high fog it appears the sky is cloudy, like right before a Mid Western rain storm….

This is a virtual rule of nature in San Francisco, the traditional summer holidays are almost always in near frigid winter…. Yesterday, for example the fog was so thick there was actual moisture in the air, you could feel it on your face and I had to use my windshield wipers when I drove my car…It was also windy and WAY too cold to even think about our traditional BBQ…

If you drive 20-30 miles in any direction out of San Francisco during the spring and especially the summer, the normal seasonal weather patterns apply…. The temperature shoots up into the 80’s at this time of year, and the more traditional weather patterns apply the farther inland you go and the farther away you are from the coast…Of course since I live only 6 blocks from the ocean, there is no relief in sight just because the calendar denotes a designated, official holiday…

Like I said, it is a mixed blessing, because I also do not have to suffer from the extreme heat waves and the high humidity so prevalent on the East coast or my native Midwest…. Since I was born and raised in Chicago, I am all too familiar with these extreme weather conditions, and that goes double for the winter, with the frigid sub zero days and the howling Arctic winds I grew up with and considered perfectly normal as a child…Back then, they didn’t even have a “wind chill” factor, it was just cold or colder!

In San Francisco the temperature in the winter drops down to the low 50’s and if we are not suffering a drought, like we are currently enduring, it usually rains most of the winter….It NEVER gets cold enough to snow here, which is a good thing because we have some of the steepest streets of any city in the world…The natives of San Francisco always bundle up in gloves, scarves, boots and heavy coats whenever the winter temperature dips into the low 50’s….

I used to laugh at these reactions when I first came here, and in a way I still do, but the weather here has a way of thinning out your blood so I am more aware of the mild winters than I used to be, and doubt I could survive a full blast Mid Western winter like I grew up in anymore…There is NO snow, no ice, so there are no snowplows clearing the road, no snow to shovel off the sidewalk, no trucks laying down salt to melt the ice, no need for anti freeze or weatherproofing your car in the winter….

In fact the climate was the main reason I moved to San Francisco, and I picked a great time, arriving in April of 1967 just months before the epic Summer of Love hippie festival and celebration of life that all of us who were here enjoyed that momentous and historically significant, profound and culturally impactful summer….

The Summer of Love produced a seismic shift in time and attitudes, in expectations and realizations, in dreams and hopes and realities…It was a once in a life time adventure, and I am proud and happy to have been an integral member of this massive transformational shift in cultural morals, the changing of the guard from the old values to the new ones that still exist today…I was at ground zero of the biggest “happening” in recent American history, and I consider myself blessed to have been here at that precise moment in time and history……

So this is the day after the Memorial Day holiday, and I am a retired hippie now so I no longer have to deal with work world…I wrote a blog yesterday about the significance of Memorial Day, and spent some time reminiscing about family and friends, of all the soldiers who had died in the service of their country, and I watched “Private Ryan” with Tom Hanks, a great, realistic, gritty WWII movie on TV….

All in all, I had a nice holiday, even without the traditional BBQ, and I hope you enjoyed yours too…

Just leave it like it is right now

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