Favorite Things: Day 28 Traditions
Ryan carrying Felix up the hill to the hut.
One of my very favorite things is carrying over traditions from both our sides of the family, as well as beginning new ones with our own brood.
Thanksgiving, when I was growing up, always entailed about 20 extra people as well as make shift table of plywood on sawhorses, covered nicely with a starched white table cloth. We pulled out boxes of Noritake china from under the stairs and washed each piece carefully. I loved polishing the silver, ironing the napkins, and setting the table with candles and place markers. The kitchen was a hub of activity, with amazing smells driving us all wild with hunger. There was the year Mom accidentally dropped the 25+ lb. turkey on the floor, creating a scene right out of The Christmas Story, and the other year Aunt Suzie traipsed around our soft pine wood floors in spiky heels, leaving an indelible mark on our floor that nearly sent my father into an apoplectic fit.
Christmas began with the hunt for the perfect i.e. tallest tree in christendom that we would then cut down, tie to our car, and drive merrily home. One year, our eyes were bigger than our strength, and we had to use a pully system, with me standing on the front porch, tugging on a rope through the dormer window to get the tree in an upright position. I think that one was close to 15-17 feet high? Christmas also included copious amounts of yummy food, including the year Mom made a traditional English plum pudding and tried to light it on fire with brandy soaked sugar cubes. Many attempts at lighting failed and then suddenly, whoosh, it seemed to explode and we all gasped then applauded. Good times.
Since we moved to Wisconsin, my side of the family has been traveling here for Thanksgiving. Everyone pitches in for the big meal as well as all the other meals of the week, lots of games of dominoes are played, beer is drunk, but the best part of Thanksgiving is an afternoon at Indian Lake. There is a wonderful warming hut on top of a hill there, with a wood stove and a stash of firewood. We haul in food and supplies and spend the afternoon mostly outside, around the big fire pit, with the hut as a place to warm up if need be. It's become a tradition almost every one in the family looks forward to the most.
Noel starting a fire in the hut's woodstove.
My older brother James also ropes anyone he can into running the Berby Derby with him Thanksgiving morning which I feel conflicted about. On the one hand, I enjoyed the race the year I ran it, but on the other hand, I'd much rather wake up late and eat a large breakfast instead. Either way, it's a fun tradition.
Our family has created lots of other traditions. Some of them will remain the same for years to come, others may change a bit to fit our changing schedule and kids' desires. Either way, it's a lovely way to create memories and an anticipation for the years to come.