This is a special time of year for me and my family. Presidents Day holds so much meaning and so many great memories for me even now as an adult.
When I was a kid, every year my brothers and I, with barely contained excitement and anticipation, would count down the days until that magical, magical day – Presidents Day! And now that I have children and even grandchildren of my own, the wonder and excitement is still there.
Of course almost as great as Presidents Day was Presidents Day Eve for my brothers and me.
It was a treasured tradition in my family that every Presidents Day Eve my dad would dress up like Lincoln and my mom would put on her George Washington nose and wig and we would fill a thermos with sugared hot tea and drive through town looking for all the streets named after presidents so we could gaze at the street signs all lit up by the street lights.
“Then, after we came home, us kids would get ready for bed. But we could barely sleep. Because the next day was Presidents Day and we knew that while we slept the current President, LBJ or Nixon at the time, would come to our house and hide one and five dollar bills for all good children.”
And oh what a glorious morning every Presidents Day morning was! We’d get up at 5:00 AM and search for the bills with Washington and Lincoln pictures on them.
Yeah, we knew we were just lower middle class kids and that some rich kids were probably finding Jeffersons and even Franklins (even though he was never a President). But it didn’t matter, we were just thrilled that another Presidents Day was finally here!
We’d spend the day enjoying our ones and fives while mom and dad lounged around in their pajamas drinking more sugared tea and preparing the big Presidents Day dinner, usually followed up with a dessert consisting of a chocolate cake shaped like the Whitehouse.
To cap off the evening dad would read the Gettysburg Address or Washington’s Second Inaugural. Then to bed we’d go and start the countdown for next year.
On this Presidents Day Eve, as I think back on those happy days, I can’t help but be a little sad. Presidents Day has become so commercial and shallow. It’s just a paid government holiday and excuse to have a Presidents Day Sale at mattress stores.
So I guess my biggest wish this Presidents Day is that we all take a moment to reflect and try to keep the ‘Millard Fillmore’ in Presidents Day.
Oh, and I’m sure that many folks are relieved, and many disappointed as well knowing that it’s Biden, not Trump, who will be sneaking into your house and hiding Lincolns and Washingtons for the next four years…maybe.