It’s as if all the soldiers from all the American wars are layering us with the fibers of their coats and sweeping the winds north today…Memorial Day 2014. Here in Concho, Arizona, the memories linger even with the winds parting like they are never to return. It feels that way for the moments here.
There’s no getting away from it Memorial Day is special in this area. The cars and trucks decorated in red white and blue, the Concho Volunteer Fire Department, a musical float and others throw candy from the parade on Frontage. I am waving back and cheering and I pick up candy and give it to a tall man with no teeth. He opens his hands and gives me a cupped smile.
At the Lions Park we separated off into eating spots and Gospel music echoes around and by the fenced in beer and wine section, Salsa music works its clave rhythm from a CD. The sky stays where it needs to … over the white garden clouds that float under the blue formation.
A big blond woman silhouettes against the sky. In those seconds, as she stops to talk to friends in between her dance moves, her head is timeless. And she remains nameless to me but she was there in the Lions Park in Concho with the revelers of Memorial Day.
A Politian in the running makes sure that her cards for election are given away. Free. Enterprising…”vote for Annell Hounshell for Clerk of the Court,” her card reads.
Two sisters sit with coolers selling sodas for a buck a can…Brianna and Anne. They brush their hair with their fingers and smile for me…dogs pant under the rare shade from tables…a volunteer, “Carol,” who works for the Concho Library works hard setting up cables and rolling them back as the day’s end of set ups comes to an end. Tim Towers, a volunteer and former ranger, rolls up his sleeves and unfolds furniture.
Jackie Hyde and Maggie Heath stand solidly over their smiles as they share their mission. In the realm of Concho, the town of volunteerism, in the beauty of the rising summer, they flowered outward for one common cause; to raise awareness and to establish a not-for-profit safety net for homeless veterans in this area.
A man with a jar asks for a dollar for a fake flower. It’s red and he calls it a Poppy. I take it and use the wire on the end to hold my shirt strap in place. Some have their red Poppy’s on their sun glasses.
The kids of Concho use the park slides and swings and light up their dreams into the days promise that on this day they get to be kids; kids who may not yet understand the Memorial Day event. They will remember the sweetness of the neighborhood, candy getting thrown out of car windows on Frontage and tears from people who stand together and cry every year at about this time.