I hope that when you enjoy all the parties this weekend, you will also stop to think about what Memorial Day really stands for. The brave women and men that have fought and risked the ultimate price, so that we have freedom to enjoy throwing those steaks on the barbecue, and perhaps having “a few too many.”

Julie Anne Rhodes

Julie Anne Rhodes

It has nothing to do with whether we believe our leaders were right or wrong to send our soldiers in. What matters is those soldiers were willing to conquer unimaginable fear to fight for a country they believe in, our country. Our soldiers and their families deserve proper recognition and respect for that. It is also a day that reminds me to be grateful for my own family – that they are all still here, and healthy.

Julie Anne Rhodes with her family

Jewels and Family

War was something I read about in newspapers and history books, or watched in horror on the television, but it never touched me personally. I never lost a loved one in battle, so it was easy for me to lose sight of the solemness of this particular holiday.  A trip home a couple years ago made war, and it’s price, a much more personal reality for me. It just seemed right to share this blog post with you again this weekend:

THE HOMECOMING

Posted on September 17, 2010 by Jewels

Julie Anne Rhodes with mom in 1968

He smiled as our eyes met, a handsome young air force pilot looking resplendent in his uniform. I know the military look is “in” this year, but I’d never taken particular notice of men in uniform before, except for the horror tinged awe I felt as a child watching the soldiers go off to Vietnam.

Tatjana and Julie Anne Rhodes, 1988
As I took my seat I couldn’t help thinking how young he looked – younger than my own daughter. I couldn’t begin to imagine the unthinkable. My uncle served in Korea before I was born, but other than that none of my family or close friends have served in the armed services.
Once the plane began to circle Des Moines, I felt like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. It felt good to be home, and I was looking forward to seeing my parents and their anxiously awaiting open arms. Considering how I left as young as possible, and spent most of my adult life avoiding my home town, this too struck me as odd.
Happy to be home with mom and dad
Then the pilot announced we would be landing shortly, but would everyone please remain seated until a special serviceman left the plane first. I turned to look at him, and heard him say “there they are” as he swallowed deeply. My eyes followed his gaze to the group of people and a hearse waiting on the tarmac that he was referring to. Then it hit me – the uniform that had caught my eye was his dress uniform. He was escorting his best friend home on what should have been the friend’s 21st birthday.
Unlike the usual shoving, heaving race to deplane, we all sat perfectly still with tears streaming down our faces as we watched the dead soldier’s mother throw her arms around the young air force pilot, leaning into him to keep from collapsing. All of us unwitting voyeurs into their private grief. I am now, no longer able to feel removed from the tremendous sacrifice of war. We watched as he saluted the casket being removed from the plane, then in deafening silence, I too deplaned – with the image of that brave soldier and grieving mother emblazoned across my heart forever.
Tatjana and Julie Anne Rhodes
Tatjana and Julie Anne Rhodes
Thank you for taking the time to stop to read this, and I would love to have you honor your brave loved ones by sharing their stories in the comment sections below. Let Memorial Day be personal! In gratitude, here’s a great potato salad recipe to enjoy with those steaks and burgers. Now go have some fun, but be safe.
Garlic Roasted Potato Salad

Garlic Roasted Potato Salad

This is my personal favorite potato salad, and a client classic. Since you are making real mayonnaise, please be careful to keep it refrigerated (don’t leave it sitting out in the sun). You can make it a day or two in advance, but please do not keep it longer than a few days, unless you freeze it.

SERVINGS: 4

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed with skins on (halved and quartered if necessary – should be bite size)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons + 1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh Rosemary
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 egg yolk
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley

DIRECTIONS:

1). Preheat oven to 425° F.

2). In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, garlic, Rosemary and 3 tablespoons olive oil well to coat evenly. Spread onto a sheet pan and season with salt and pepper generously to taste. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring midway, or until tender and nicely browned. Remove and cool completely.

3). In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, cayene (if using) and egg yolk. Continue whisking while you add the 1/4 cup olive oil in a slow steady stream until the mayonnaise emulsifies. Add the cooled potatoes, scallions and parsley, and toss until completely coated and dispersed. Adjust seasonings.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

Serve with any grilled protein of your choice.

SERVINGS: 4

INGREDIENTS:

2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed with skins on (halved and quartered if necessary – should be bite size)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons + 1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh Rosemary
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 egg yolk
1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley

DIRECTIONS:

1). Preheat oven to 425° F.

2). In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, garlic, Rosemary and 3 tablespoons olive oil well to coat evenly. Spread onto a sheet pan and season with salt and pepper generously to taste. Roast in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, stirring midway, or until tender and nicely browned. Remove and cool completely.

3). In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, lemon juice, cayene (if using) and egg yolk. Continue whisking while you add the 1/4 cup olive oil in a slow steady stream until the mayonnaise emulsifies. Add the cooled potatoes, scallions and parsley, and toss until completely coated and dispersed. Adjust seasonings.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

Serve with any grilled protein of your choice.

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