Memorial Day Weekend by Hannah Redigan


Memorial Day weekend: A time for Civil War reenactments, old people reflecting upon their former glory, and American flag sweaters worn at the booze-laden bonfire. Like most patriotic Americans, I usually spend this cherished holiday at the beach, eating Digiorno pizzas (no delivery here), making bonfires, and, playing Kardashians with my siblings. My brother pretends to be Khloe, the largest sister, and I’m cast as Kourtney, the short sister, whom Khloe has to dunk underwater. My sister adopts the role of a disinterested Kim.

This is my all-American tale.

I decided to spend one particular Memorial Day with my sister Molly and my friend Erica at my cottage in Port Huron, Michigan. With $50, a Beach Boys CD, and an open highway, we were prepared for anything this crazy, mixed up adventure known as life could throw at us. Or so we thought.

The ride to Port Huron is approximately one and a half hours. Somewhere between Detroit and the “Don’t pick up hitchhikers. Prison area” sign along the highway, I confided in my comrades that I was determined to find a new Diet Snapple endorsed by Bret Michaels at Meijer. I had become intrigued by this raggle-taggle gypsy ho when I saw his turn on The Celebrity Apprentice. I had been delighted to see a different side of the cowboy hat, Ed Hardy wearing, diabetic womanizer I had seen prior on his VH1 reality show, Rock of Love.

Also along the way to Port Huron I espied several billboards featuring pasty country realtors, construction workers, doctors, and the like. Each time we saw one, I delivered the hilarious, classic line “Molly, I didn’t know your boyfriend was a/an [insert career here].” We later spotted a sign announcing Tears for Fears’ upcoming performance at Caesars Palace, and unoriginal Molly said “Hannah, I didn’t know your boyfriend is coming to Caesars Palace.” I must admit, I blushed.

We stopped at Meijer when we got closer to our destination to get some food. As we entered the store, the smell of fried chicken hit us like Mike Tyson’s left hook. We all sensually hummed “mmmmmmmmmmm.” As we did so, a 16-year old vision in a Cookie Monster t-shirt and backwards baseball cap passed us by. This created the illusion that we were sexually harassing this poor boy.

Successfully eluding charges of statutory naughtiness, I began my quest to find Bret Michael’s TropaRocka Snapple drink. I searched high and low, but my Frodo-esque quest proved futile. They didn’t have it. The townies may have an Old Country Buffet, but they’re still effing peasants to me.

Later on that day, we decided to take a dip in the jerry-curled waves of Lake Huron. There were two little girls in the water. Years ago, we’d had a colorful encounter with one of the girls when she had forced Molly, my brother Patrick, and me to play mermaids with her. The girl named herself Sharpay after the sassy blond in High School Musical. Molly and I were Magenta or Crystal or some such mystical beings. We asked Pat his name, and he mumbled “Popcorn.”

This time though, the little girl dangled bikini bottoms in the other girls’ faces seductively and tauntingly, as if they were horny nerds. Molly and I awkwardly skipped stones near by.

We retreated to the front porch of my cottage and I pointed out the sign that reads “FBI: Full Blooded Irish Only” and told Erica she had to leave. Then I thought of my own half-blood status (Scarlett O’Hara, anyone?) and grew quiet.

We later went to see the boats near the bridge to Canada. Children rollerblade along the promenade and seagulls defecate everywhere. A gang of Christian bikers wore leather vests with rhinestone decals, and braids reaching their righteous waists, and God said they were good.

We drank sweating cans of Diet Coke and ate the Blizzard of the month from Dairy Queen. While we ate and sipped, a man walked by dressed as an off-brand Scooby Doo with an extremely long, copyright-infringement-eluding neck. As Molly, Erica, and I stood near a lighthouse, this monster approached us. Was he going to solicit us? No, he shamefacedly went to the Porta-John nearby. We three, disillusioned, dissatisfied, and disheartened, left.

We went for a midnight swim. Molly revealed that she wished to spend the evening the way Marcia Gay Harden spent her 50th birthday like in an article in my grandmother’s Good Housekeeping that reported that the actress had spent her 50th birthday skinny-dipping at midnight. Disgusting.

And so we went to bed with lake-matted hair, mosquito bites, and bonfire-scented clothes with suspicious looking melted marshmallow stains in all the wrong places.

I woke up to a bowl of Waffle Crisp, a sunburned back, and feeling blessed.



I graduated from University of Michigan and then worked at a museum of African American History for three years. I am currently studying Clinical Mental Health Counseling. I still live in Michigan.

My favorite part of travel, then, is going to the places, and appreciating the things others often do not. Not having money has allowed me to see the interest and beauty in things people with money often gloss over. For this I am grateful.