If you missed me in this space last Sunday, thank you.
I was away from the office on a vacation that kicked off during the Memorial Day holiday weekend and involved a lot of company coming to visit, including my stepson and his family from North Carolina.
It was a sweet little stretch of time where I was reminded of some simple truths, including that there's no place like Richmond on Memorial Day, and I felt very proud to have visiting family there to be a part of it all and to experience it for the first time, especially grandchildren.
Of course, I'm from Richmond, so I'm prejudiced here, but I have to say I felt so blessed to witness once again how this community pays tribute to veterans on this day - from the breakfast at the Richmond United Methodist Church to the parade through town to the services at Richmond Union Cemetery where surprise awards were presented to Dan Vojvodich, commander of the Richmond American Legion Post 740 Honored Seven and master of ceremonies; World War II Navy veteran Paul Blackburn, the Legion's financial officer; and guest speaker Tony Kovalesky, a longtime Edison High School history and government teacher who has now retired after a more than 35-year career as an educator.
This holiday tradition that a small town U.S.A. like Richmond has embraced through the years is a beautiful thing to behold.
Some other simple truths made me smile on this vacation:
-- You fuss a lot about what the best vacation destination spot is, but to just sit and enjoy the company of people you love on a back porch setting is a luxury I never take for granted, especially after the wicked winter that we had.
I get more enjoyment out of a lawn chair offering a ring-side seat to some pretty spectacular sights - flowers in bloom; a hummingbird happy with your hanging basket selections for the summer; the formation of clouds I admire as artwork in the sky; or the beginning glow of solar lights in flower beds.
Porch sitting - now that's some quality vacation time.
-- If you can fuss a lot about vacation destinations, you can assume, too, that kids need a lot of special entertainment to be happy and amused, but I saw two examples contrary to that notion.
One, for example, was seeing grandchildren accustomed to swimming in a pool or outings to water parks seemingly just as happy to don their bathing suits and run through the cold spray of a garden hose.
Another was to see a grandson engrossed in picking weeds and running back and forth in a field, his grandfather and a dog challenged to keep the pace.
-- I tend to fret a lot over company coming to visit, engrossed in and stressed over all the preparatory things to be done, from cooking food and cleaning to making sure everyone's comfortable and well fed.
When it's all said and done, though, everything comes off without a hitch - pretty much - and I'm reminded that the best vacations are the ones where you find rest and respite right at home.
(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and features writer with the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)