Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

My great uncle Albert used to look at me, scrunch up his face like he was thinking really hard about something, and practically spit the words, "I've forgotten more about the Packers than you'll ever know, you little punk."

Albert's long dead now, died of anger...and chronic sauerkraut ulcers, or maybe it was the piece of Kraut shrapnel he took during WWII finally worked it’s way from his left calf to his brain, I can’t really remember which, and I didn’t pay attention because he was such a di....Anyway, I only bring up great uncle Albert because it’s Memorial Day weekend, and I used to see him and the rest of the Hillsides this weekend every year while growing up.

As everyone knows, Memorial Day weekend officially kicks off summer...well, except for the, sweaty weather this past week that got everything jump started. No place is this more true than northern Wisconsin. People drive hours and hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic to be outside and welcome the new season. Well, the Hillside clan was no exception to this tradition, we used to travel from all points of the compass and congregate at Grandma and Grandpa Hillside’s cabin for this most-glorious of holiday weekends. Boats would be gassed repeatedly, docks would be cannon-balled from, lighter fluid would flow, and campfires would burn late into the night. It was around these campfires that the Hillside men would smoke stogies, pound Old Milwaukee, complain about politics, pick on my Uncle Chet, and invariably talk Packers. I remember hearing my grandpa and great uncle Albert recall the Lombardi years, my uncles talk about the 70’s-80’s wretchedness, and I would try and mention Don Majikowski…Ol’ Uncle Albert would put a stop my contributions right away.

Sadly, this family tradition came to an end after my stoner cousin and his girlfriend burned the cabin down while trying to make pot brownies...apparently they forgot they were in the oven while they were swimming. My grandparents thought about rebuilding, but, as is always the case, family members were moving on, getting married (even Brownie Bobby), and passing away, RIP, Albert, you crabby bastard. So they sold the land complete with charred remains, and bought a condo in Florida (not quite the same experience).

So for all of those Packer fans out there making a journey somewhere, anywhere, this Memorial Day weekend, I wish you safe travels. Take the time to think about the veterans you may know. Even though he’s a jerk, I still think about Albert and his service to our country. Also, drive safe, remember to flip your meat, keep your Old Milwaukee on ice, and don’t forget that you’ve got brownies in the oven if you’re into that sort of thing.

And when the talk around the grill or campfire turns to the Packers, just remember that there’s always someone out there who has forgotten more than you’ll ever know.

Oh yeah, don’t pee in the lake from your boat either, that’s gross and no one wants to see it.

Happy Memorial Day, everyone.


  1. The Hillside family - generations of awesomeness. BTW, I also have a cousin into pot brownies. Pretty sure we all do, whether we know it or not...

  2. I often have the feeling that there’s always someone out there who has forgotten more than you’ll ever know.


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