"Hey, Hannah! I have been looking all over for you. A group of us are going to get together Monday for a BBQ. Did you want to join us?"
"Oh, thanks, Josh, but I've already got plans with my Dad for Monday."
"Oh, that's cool. I don't do a lot with my folks anymore. I should probably give them a call soon."
Hannah smiled, "Yeah you probably should. Have fun though. I'll see you all on Tuesday."
Hannah went back to her desk and checked her "To Do" list. She needed to stop by the farm stand over the weekend and pick up strawberries for the strawberry short cake and wanted to look at what flowers they had ready for planting. That's how they would spend most of the day. Baking grandma's shortcake recipe, then gardening, then eating. It didn't seem like a lot but tradition made it much bigger.
She remembered the first time she got to help make the strawberry shortcake. She was started on mixing dry ingredients with the promise that when she got older she would be allowed to hull and slice the strawberries. She had so looked forward to the year she was given the paring knife and set to work on the berries. It was a pretty good trick, she didn't even realize until a few years in to the hulling and slicing that it was actually the worst part of the job. Dad always handled the whipped cream, he would whisk it by hand in to soft perfect peaks. When she did it, it was with the mixer. He would just shake his head, "How can you tell it's exactly right if you can't feel it?"
She glanced at the clock, one more hour until the long weekend started. Almost time.
Monday morning Hannah was up before her alarm would have gone off on a work day. Wasn't that always the way? It was fine, she had a busy day ahead and might as well get started on it. She had picked up the berries at the farm stand and some marigolds. Her dad liked marigolds. They were colorful and helped keep away bugs. He was very practical that way. She would have probably gone with morning glories, those were her favorites, but they took a lot more work to keep tidy. Practicality wins the day.
After showering and tidying up the house a little Hannah watched the clock. They'd get started on the dessert around 10. That would give the shortcakes time to bake before the day warmed up. Then everything could cool while they did a little gardening and a little lemonade drinking in the shade. Maybe more lemonade than gardening, but that was tradition as well. Though this year she had a bit of a surprise to add. She hoped he would like it.
One fifteen. Sun high in the sky, gardening in full swing. There had been some weeds to pull and one of the flowers they had planted last time hadn't made it through the winter so she had pulled it out. Then the new marigolds were planted adding their own sunshiny faces to the day. Not bad at all. Hannah poured two glasses of lemonade out of her thermos and then opened the small Tupperware container she had stashed in the cooler as well. There were macerated strawberries and lime in this one and she stirred a tablespoon of the mixture in to each glass. She sat back under the shade of the oak tree and took a sip. "What do you think? Nice add right? Yeah, I know, you'd like it better with a shot of bourbon." Hannah laughed.
"Josh, is Hannah going to make it? You invited her right?"
"Yeah, I did, but she said she was busy with her dad today."
"Her dad? Are you sure she said her dad?"
"Her dad died in Afghanistan like 6 years ago."
"Oh shit, I had no idea..."
Hannah reached in to the cooler and took out a covered bowl of strawberry shortcake. Placing it on the gravestone next to the glass of lemonade. "I miss you, Dad. Happy Memorial Day."