How is Your Holiday? Mine Sort of Bittersweet

To the USA readers, how goes your Memorial Day weekend holiday? You may recall here I mentioned a couple weeks ago about the relevance and pertinence for many of us in the 'Amber Alert' program. That really hit home for me about a week ago regards my younger sister when we _finally_ after some intensive searching discovered she was _still_ in Orlando, Florida where she wound up after having left home at the age of 16 almost thirty years ago. We got a phone call from her (now 23 year old) son about a week ago. It seems she had died -- on the street, the usual 'home' for homeless people -- she had been cremated and the ashes given to her son, as 'next of kin' on March 5, 2005, in other words about three months ago. Her son -- also a street person by choice, had not been easily located by authorities in Orlando, but in a sort of unceremonious way, when they finally _did_ locate him, the authorities handed him a little plastic baggy with ashes and said "here is your mother". I asked Justin (her son) to please either bring the ashes here _or_ ship them in the mail mainly so that _my_ mother (his grandmother) could see some closure in the matter. I had hoped the ashes and/or Justin would have been here over the holiday, but no such luck. Now I am told the ashes are en-route from Orlando, but we shall see about that.

Meanwhile, _my_ brother Dan, along with his wife and his son came into town for this non-occasion Friday night, and are going back to their home in Chicago either tonight or in the morning. To 'celebrate' this non-arrival of the ashes and/or nephew Justin, my brother Dan insisted we all go over to Austin's (the local 'rowdy young guys, hard-rock, semi-gay bar' here in town; the equivilent of Dalton House down in Coffeyville.) I _hate_ the place, being far too noisy, far too full of cigarette smoke, drunks and assorted characters.

The last time I was at Austin's was when Lisa Minter and two of her boy friends forced me to go there with them last July 3. If you recall when I wrote about that last summer, eight or ten blocks of West Main Street was totally torn up for sewer repairs/rebuilding, Austin's parking lot was inaccessible (as a result of the work on Main Street) and everyone was entering/exiting the place off of Maple Street, the next block south. None the less, the place was very crowded; standing room only. I knew before we left that this year would be the same way, being a holiday weekend and the night before the holiday. I hated it last year, I hated it again last night, particularly the police cars and sheriff cars roaming slowly through the (now functioning since Main Street repaired) parking lot; every one of the officers looking hateful as if they were saying, "oh, please, won't some one please screw up, so we can crack open some heads for fun and relaxation. We want to have fun also."

Like last year, this time Dan took me out of here screaming and kicking; I would have been perfectly happy sitting in my parlor with a book and the computer; we stayed at Austin's until closing time (2 AM) and like last year when Lisa and her friends took me there, this weekend's bunch kept putting more and more and more drinks in front of 'uncle Pat' (I guess they consider me the family patriarch or something) while they all kept running around doing whatever it is that kids do in places 'like that'. All I remember is they got me back home a little after 2 AM, I fell asleep immediatly and woke up today feeling _terrible_.

So how was your holiday weekend?


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