Posted tagged ‘tradition’

“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.”

January 1, 2018

I woke up warm and toasty this morning. The comforter was even a bit too much last night. Yesterday at this time nothing was warm, not my nose, my feet, Maddie’s fur or Gracie all over. Both of them are sleeping now.

The freezing weather continues. This morning there was a short snow shower of flaky, light snow. It was almost a whiteout. The old snow now looks new, fitting for today, though I doubt even an inch of snow fell, and it has since stopped. It is freezing cold, only 9˚. The high today will be 15˚ though I have no idea in what world we can call 15˚ a high. The sun has broken through the clouds and brought a bit of blue with it. I think of it as a bit of a celebration to welcome the new year.

I don’t make resolutions. I used to, but I was a complete failure. I have a few hopes, but I make no promises to myself. I’d like to think this year will be better than last. The eternal optimist in me won’t let go. It holds sway. That’s just the way it is.

My life has a rhythm. Even on days I do little or nothing, I still feel alive, open to anything which comes my way. My friends and I have traditions we love and look forward to every year. On the first day of spring we welcome the new season at sunrise on the beach where the waves sometimes have whitecaps and sometimes are very still but are always dependable hitting the shore and leaving ripples in the sand. We sing the same songs year to year. Morning Has Broken is my favorite. We hold up our Day of the Dead decorated cookies expecting praise and maybe even a bit of awe at the hidden talents we all have. The summer is our deck time with movies every Saturday night. We love the breeze going across the deck and the fireflies flitting through the trees in the backyard. We laugh at the wonderfully awful B science fiction movies. We decorate gingerbread houses on Christmas Eve. We share Christmas Day dinner and swap presents. I know this new year will be different, but I know too the familiar will happen in the same loving way.

My memory drawers are so full but there is still room in the back for new memories. I welcome each new year with open arms. It’s possibility, it’s hope and it’s glorious adventures.

Happy New Year, my friends!!

“Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.”

November 19, 2017

The rain started last night. That just added to the misery. Gracie wanted out every couple of hours. The second time we went out, around three, it was barely raining, but once we were outside, the clouds opened and the rain was heavy. Gracie and I got wet. She didn’t mind as much as I did. When I heard Gracie panting around five, I braced myself but was surprised to find the rain light. It was also quite warm. From then on, we all, Gracie, Maddie and I, slept until 10:30. Gracie was wedged between me and the back of the couch. One of my legs was hanging off the couch. It was then I got up and my morning began.

Sunday is game night, but the game is different tonight because the Patriots play at 4:30 so we’ll watch and cheer on Tom and the boys. My high school team, from the school where I graduated a long time ago and where I worked for 33 years, won big time on Friday. They are 11-0 for the year and have one game left: the state championship, the high school super bowl.

All the cooking shows are giving their slants on Thanksgiving. I save many of the recipes, but when I cooked Thanksgiving dinner, my menu changed little from all the other Thanksgivings we had when I was growing up. To me, Thanksgiving dinner is filled with family traditions. There’s my grandmother’s date nut bread, my Aunt Bunny’s squash dish, my Dad’s favorite creamed onions, my mother’s sage dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy. My mother also cooked another couple of vegetable dishes; sometimes it was green bean casserole and one of my favorites, turnips. There were always apple and lemon meringue pies. I was talking to my sister the other night, and she’s making a lemon meringue pie.

When I was driving home the other day, all of a sudden, the image of my Dad at Thanksgiving jumped into my head. My mother’s table was round but somehow where my Dad sat seemed the head of the table. His back was to the kitchen. In from of him on the table was a dish of asparagus just for him, canned asparagus. I remember the spears were like wilted flowers, their tops hung over. He’d fill his plate with mashed potatoes dripping with gravy, creamed onions and a turkey leg. I still can picture him munching on that leg.  It is one of my favorite memories of Thanksgiving.

“There are many reasons to celebrate, but National Mustard Day just isn’t one of them.”

November 21, 2016

This morning I got to thinking. Thanksgiving is a day, one single day of family and food. For most of us the menu is the same. Turkey has the most prominent spot on the table. It generally arrives uncut so we can ooh and ah at the beauty of the roasted bird. My dad, at the head of the table, did the carving. He’d fill a platter with slices and then tear off a leg or two to complete the dish. He was the only one who loved a leg. The rest of the meal depends on family traditions though I suspect they’ll be gravy and mashed potatoes on many a Thanksgiving table. We always had a squash and carrot dish which originated with my aunt but was tweaked by my mother who substituted butternut squash, far more seasonable, for the undefined squash in the recipe. That was always the favorite vegetable. My father got his canned asparagus. None of the rest of us ate it. My mother would cook a few more vegetables, sometimes peas, creamed onions and a new dish or two. Cranberry sauce came from the can. One year my mother made a wonderful orange cranberry sauce and served it in oranges. It wasn’t a hit, especially for my father who seldom liked anything new for the holidays. I loved it and was glad it was packed in my doggy bag.

Okay, I majorly digressed. What I was originally thinking was Thanksgiving is a single day, while it is the Christmas season, many days. I know it seems to come earlier each year, but we do have 4 Sundays of Advent, the start of the season for me. During that time there is so much to do and most of it fun. Cookies have to be made, and best of all, they have to be decorated. The house gets decorated. I alternate decorations year by year, but the tree never really changes. New ornaments are added but the usual appear every year. Cards need to be addressed and sent. I love buying Edward Gorey cards and found 2 wonderful sets of them this year. I know people sour on having to buy gifts, but I love shopping for just the right ones. Years ago one of my friends said she loves anticipating what I give her as it is always so neat which is why I love to shop. Just because I’m older (not old, older) doesn’t mean I forget the joys of the season. We decorate gingerbread houses. I play Christmas music and always sing along. I sit in the living room just to look at the tree.

Thursday is close. In the morning I’ll watch the parade, crack nuts, eat a few tangerines and some M&M’s just the way I did when I was a kid. My friends and I are going out for dinner, a new tradition started last year. I’ll probably cook a small turkey so I can have a mini Thanksgiving complete with leftovers. On Friday I’ll let everyone else shop, but on Saturday I’ll finish my list. Saturday night I’ll put my feet up, enjoy some egg nog and a Hallmark movie, and I’ll not wonder how it will end!

“Tradition is a fine thing. Nothing comes out of the blue, except perhaps thunderbolts and they are not really very useful things.”

November 6, 2016

Today is dark and rainy. The street is now covered with wet leaves and pine needles. They’ll dry then be blown away. My lawn too is covered in brown pine needles and has mostly disappeared. Every small breeze drops yellow oak leaves to the deck. I can watch them fall from the window. My den light is lit giving the room a cozy feel. Gracie and Maddie are asleep. I love mornings like this.

This week I have a meeting on Tuesday, and that is the only entry on my dance card. The rest of the week is wide open. I have some stuff I could do like go through the Christmas presents piled on a guest room bed and catalogue them by person so I can know what I still need to buy. I love to find just the right gifts for people, and it takes a bit of shopping to do that, and Christmas isn’t really all that far away. I did some Christmas shopping in Ghana, and I’m glad for that as the gifts will be unique. I bought yards and yards of traditional Ghanaian GTP cloth to be used to make presents. Now I wish I’d even bought more.

Some gifts have become part of the Christmas tradition. I give everyone a bag filled with smaller gifts including a new ornament with some sort of a personal touch like a fish for my brother-in-law the fly fisherman. The kids also get Christmas books. I give all the women earrings or some sort of jewelry. This year the jewelry is from Ghana. I buy soap for every bag like lobsters or starfish. I also try to find fun gifts. I bought an old fishing drop line for my nephew, a gift of memory for him. There are bigger gifts for the kids. The younger boys get Hess trucks. They are on the way. My only grandniece is getting a doll and a dress from Ghana. My nieces and nephews get gift certificates stuffed into their gift bags, something I started doing when they got into their 20’s and finding just the right gift got too difficult. They love the small gifts and opening the bags is always done on Christmas Eve. It is the tradition, and my family is big on Christmas tradition.

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”

December 24, 2014

It’s raining, and it’s 50˚, but none of that matters. It’s Christmas Eve. When I was a kid, it was the longest day of the year. The clock never seemed to move. I remember begging my mother to let me go to bed around six or seven. Tired had nothing to do with it. I was filled with anticipation, and I remember believing sleeping the night away was the quickest way to get to morning and to Santa’s surprises. It, of course, was always the one night I could never get to sleep. I remember having conversations with my brother down the hall while both of us were still in bed in our own rooms. Periodically my mother would yell up the stairs for us to stop talking so we could go to sleep. I used to wonder why she didn’t realize sleep was far away on Christmas Eve. Hers was a silly request.

Every year my mother put a few presents under the tree. Every year my sister Moe poked tiny holes in each present to see what was there. It was during these hole poking days she developed an aptitude for guessing exactly what each wrapped present was. Holes were no longer necessary. One Christmas is legendary. She was going to a Christmas party with Rod, my brother-in-law, and had nothing to wear. She felt a few presents from my parents and found her outfit, felt a few more and found new earrings to match her dress. She called to thank my mother who then became the tale bearer of my sister’s latest Christmas miracle.

We could open one present on Christmas Eve, but we never got to pick the present. We always had to open the pajamas. New pajamas were part of our Christmas tradition.

I can still see the tree at 16 Washington Ave. in its usual corner with the wrapped gifts underneath, the ones from my parents and grandparents, the ones with the tiny holes. The lights in the windows seemed especially brilliant on Christmas Eve. TV Santa, the one from New Hampshire we watched every afternoon, wished us a Merry Christmas, waved and left for his big adventure around the world. We hung our stockings on the railing going upstairs. We had no chimney. We watched a Christmas show or two on TV then we went to bed. Eons later we all fell asleep.

Today is still all about tradition. This morning I opened number 24 on my Advent calendar. It is the crèche scene, the same as it always is. This afternoon I will work on tomorrow’s dinner, and tonight my friends and I will build gingerbread houses, eat some appies and have a drink or two. That’s one of our favorite Christmas traditions.

Happy Christmas Eve! I hope you’re all on the good list.