Of holidays and traditions

Thanksgiving is nearly over for those of us in the Midwest. Meals have been consumed, good meals, and we’ll all be moving on to whatever tomorrow: Work, shopping, hosting families for Thanksgiving Redux.

I am very fortunate that, for this one-day holiday, I have somewhere to spend it. A place to pull up a chair and share good food and good times with truly good people. But, as I sat in my friend’s kitchen talking as she prepared a few dishes for today, I was reminded how much tradition is a part of these holidays.

As a 40-year-old orphan who is single, sometimes these sorts of holidays just don’t seem important. I could’ve done like another friend and kicked back with some Chinese food and it woulda just been a day off in the middle of the week. But, there are those pesky traditions. You are supposed to hang out at a house teeming with people and eat turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes. When you are doing that with someone else’s family, it is their traditions in which you partake.

For the last several years, I’ve been trying to establish my own traditions. The direct end result has been me bouncing back and forth like a pinball between my family in Ohio and my family of friends in Indiana. So, as I reflected with my friend today and Wednesday about traditions, I realized: I can’t remember what our Thanksgiving traditions were. Christmas I remember like you can’t believe. But Thanksgiving is lost on me. Did we eat at home? Did we go to my mother’s sister’s home? Heck, I can remember our Easter traditions better.

The one thing I do know is that, as the better cook in the family, it was my mom who always cooked and I was always right there at her side as she did. I remember her stuffing (yep, we stuffed it in the bird) recipe off the top of the my head. I remember each pie she made (and there were several). And, it has been more than 15 years since I had a holiday the way my mom would’ve done it.

All that rambling to say this: Hold on to those traditions you cherish now, remember them. If you must, take photos and notes and scrapbook them. Then, maybe, you won’t find yourself in the same position as me, wondering what Thanksgiving was like for you 20 years earlier.

What are some of your favorite traditions?

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