For me, this year’s Memorial Day takes on a new meaning.  Besides remembering those who gave their lives for our country, I will be thinking of my wedding day forty-one years ago.

Bob and I meant every word we vowed when we uttered the words, “Till death do us part.”  Marriage was a lifetime commitment, not something to discard when the going got tough.  We made a choice to stay together through the difficulties of life and the struggles in our relationship.  I remember telling Bob one day that he was as romantic as an old shoe.  His reply was a defining moment for me: “Yeah, and I fit like one, too!”  All I could think of was some of my most comfortable shoes. They were worn and not-so-nice looking anymore, but how I loved the way they felt on my feet.

We were good for each other, Bob and I.  He was calm, even-tempered, and optimistic.  I, on the other hand, worked to keep my temper under control.  I also tended to be much more pessimistic.  Bob could be quite stodgy, and I loved getting him to break out of his shell and enjoy life.  We laughed together, we cried together, but most importantly, we prayed together.  We knew the Lord was the best foundation our marriage could have.

One of the hardest things for me to hear after Bob passed away was, “Think of all the good memories you have.”  It was especially hard to hear it from people whose spouse was standing right there with them.  They could make more memories, and it was (and still is) hard for me to think of my husband as part of my past but not my present or future.

I treasure the wonderful memories I have of my husband.  I was truly blessed to have had him in my life, and I still thank God for the years we had together.  One of the CDs that Bob and I listened to in the car during the last several months of his life contained a song entitled, “I’d Choose You Again.”  Bob would sing along, and when the song was over, he would look at me and say, “I would, you know” before he joined in with the next song.  Even with everything we went through, I would, too.

Some tasty ideas for your Memorial Day weekend food tables:


Grilled Lime-Jalapeño Chicken

 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1/4 cup canola oil (may use light-tasting olive oil)

1/2 cup lime juice

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 small jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of waxed paper; flatten to 1/4-inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin.

Combine oil, lime juice, garlic powder, and jalapeño peppers in a zip-top heavy-duty plastic bag.  Add chicken and marinate at least 1 hour in the refrigerator.  Remove chicken from marinade, reserving marinade.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Grill chicken covered, over medium hot (300 to 400 degrees) coals 7 minutes on each side, basting with marinade twice.  Garnish, if desired.  Makes 4 servings.


Sweet-and-Sour Carrot Salad

8 medium carrots, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup diced onion

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons paprika

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1 cup orange juice

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

Cook carrots and salt in boiling water to cover 4 to 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender; drain.

Whisk together onion and next 9 ingredients in a large bowl.  Add carrots, tossing well.  Cover and chill at least 4 hours before serving.  Yield: 6 to 8 servings.


Frosted Banana Bars

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1-1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 medium)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch salt


1/4 cup butter or margarine

4 ounces cream cheese

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  Beat in eggs, bananas and vanilla.  Combine flour baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Pour into greased 15-by-10-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until bars test done.  Cool completely.  For frosting, cream butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl.  Gradually add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla; beat well.  Spread over bars.  Yield: 3 dozen