A (radio) board in exchange for a burger.

Close. So close. But no cigar.

Or burger off the grill. Potato salad. Or slice of watermelon.

Today’s Memorial Day in the United States.

For most, it’s merely the start of the summer travel season. A reason to party. A holiday in a 3-day weekend for BBQs, getaways and picnics.

An American minority marks Memorial Day for its original purpose: to remember and honor the fallen soldiers.

I mention this not only to pay my respects to those who gave their lives for our freedoms — a worthy acknowledgement indeed.

I mention it on a personal note of “close but no cigar.”

I work seven days a week at a radio station.

Three of those days are long shifts — from 5 to 8 hours. Four of those days are 1-hour shifts in mid-afternoon.

Either way, I’m at the workplace every day of the week.

I love my job and I work every day willingly for various reasons.

I do, however, miss having a totally free day to myself. A day to go out of town. To do something that doesn’t require watching the clock or needing to be somewhere.

I came thiiiiiisssss close to that day off today. It’d have been my first day off since … geez, can’t recall. A while.

I’ll admit I was very excited! Not only for that rare day to play but to do so by a lake for a holiday potluck. Gorgeous weather, around 80 degrees, crystal clear blue skies.

You couldn’t ask for better conditions for 25 folks to gather outdoors to play. picnic and pause, hopefully, to remember WHY we have the day off: Memorial Day.

I’d sussed out and reviewed tons of recipes online for a potluck dish. Bought all the fixings for a Chinese ramen salad. Had it all planned.

Then last night at work — around 10:30 p.m. — the workplace phone rings.

My boss.

“I forgot to arrange for someone to come in tomorrow (on the holiday) 12 noon to 4 p.m. Can you do it?”

My answer of course was yes.

First, because someone was needed to run the (radio) board.

Second, I love being of service to the station and radio generally.

Three, of our small staff, I’m probably the most likely to drop everything to fill in when asked.

Four, I need the money. (Admittedly 4 hours isn’t a huge moneymaker at my wage; however, it is certainly a gain.)

Five, I like my boss and genuinely want to help him and the station. It’s who I am. “Chronically helpful.” haha

So I went in to work today. It meant bowing out of the Memorial Day potluck that had me all excited. Forgoing my first day off in months in order to help where it was needed. It meant working quietly alone while folks were out play-play-playing travel-travel-traveling relax-relax-relaxing.

It meant bidding bye-bye to a party some 12 hours away when the boss telephoned.

Soooo close so very close. But no cigar.

No burger or potato salad or watermelon either.

No dip for chips or dip for feet in a lake.

Not complaining. I worked willingly and because it was needed.

Just sayin’ this Memorial Day’s marked with a memory of what might’ve been  — a potluck in a park — and what was — servicemen and women who lost their lives fighting for America.

Be it from the workplace or the water, I salute you.


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