Friday, November 11, 2005


How many of you have seen "Fiddler on the Roof"? Raise your hands... I have this song "Tradition" stuck in my head. Since last night. Still. It won't go away. As my daughter, Em, has revealed I have a weird thing that happens to me when I drive... I get showtunes stuck in my brain. Sometimes Christmas Carols. Sometimes complete nonsense tunes ripple through my vocal cords. Usually I don't assault anyone else with Yeah, I'm one of those singers who can't sing. Oh, I CAN sing when I try hard, but when I'm just alone in my car belting tunes I. Don't. Care. I let 'em fly... off-tune, loud, and sometimes with painful consequenses. (You'll have to talk to Em about that.)

I digress.

The topic was traditions. Most of us have family traditions. Some are pretty simple - do you eat dinner together at the table? Do you say grace? Do you take your shoes off when you come in the house? See? Simple. Then you move it up a notch... Christmas. Do you open gifts the night before or the day of? Do you all open gifts at once, or take turns? I'm strange... I make my family open go around and open one at a time. Why? Because I want to see what they get! I want to see the look on their faces when they open it. Yes, I'm bad... I want to see if they like it and if I don't see the initial look, why...they can lie, can't they? Uh-huh. I know how that works. (Not that they would, you know...)

My husbands' family always opened the night before, mine the morning of. We compromise. We go to my MIL's house the night before and have (tradition) oyster stew and chili, then open the gifts between his family and ours. The next morning we have (tradition) my grandmother's coffee cake and open our families' gifts. Stockings are still stuffed at my house. Why? I don't know.. because it's fun? Tradition dictates every stocking be filled with one very large orange and one very large apple. Also, some chapstick. Socks. Maybe mittens. Batteries. Pens and/or pencils. Yeah, practical, huh? Lots of candy - except, of course, for the one kid who doesn't like candy. (Yes, he's mine. Don't know how he missed that gene, tho'.) He makes it interesting, as I have to find things that are not candy but still will fit in a stocking - and not break the bank. Not so easy anymore. Used to be you could get small things for $1-2, now we're talking $5-10. That's a whole other topic...

Birthdays are another traditional day. The person of honor has the choice of whatever they want for dinner - either homecooked, or eaten out. They pick out their cake. They pick out their ice cream. They (sometimes) pick the guest list. They cannot open any gifts until after supper is eaten. I don't know where that came from, maybe we're just closet torturers...?

Trips. Whenever we go on a trip there are protocols. We MUST wash the vehicle on the way out of town. We live in the country, on gravel, and most of the time our vehicles are dusty. Yes, we do wash them occasionally. Actually Hubby is pretty fanatical about washing his truck at least once a week. He's better than I am about that. Okay, I'm a woman... (hey! cut that out! that hurt!) I will wash it when I go to the 'big city' or if we go on a trip. We mustn't look like the hicks from the sticks, you know! Also, when we go further than the 'big city' we always make time for a truck-stop breakfast. You'd be surprised how good those places can be. There's a reason there aren't too many "skinny" truckers... (oh, be've seen ' know I'm right.)

Thanksgiving is just a short hop-skip-and-jump away and we all seem to have traditional foods. I mean, it really IS all about the food, isn't it? I know, I know, we all are thankful and we love getting together with our friends and families, but really... it isn't the football, it's the FOOD. Turkey, stuffing, rolls, pumpkin pie - after that it can be a free-for-all. Em will beat you with a stick if she doesn't get scalloped oysters. I think my husband would dis-own me if I decided to have some sort of potato casserole instead of mashed potatoes and gravy. Sweet potatos with brown sugar, butter, and mini-marshmellows is one of my favorites. It's never a bad call to get canned, jellied cranberry sauce. Believe me. We've tried the homemade cranberry salad. It was good, but nobody ate it! (Sorry, MIL.) Once I accidently bought the wrong thing - it wasn't the jellied. I thought my kids were going to revolt! Then you have to have the relish tray - MIL usually brings that. She still insists on throwing cauliflower and broccoli on there with the carrots and celery and olives (both black and green) - even though nobody ever eats it. The plate always looks so off-balanced when we get through and all that is left is the untouched cauliflower and broccoli. Hubby's family always had pumpkin pie with ice cream... is that just weird, or is it me? Our family always had it with whipped cream. Now we offer both. Just in case.

Okay, I'm making myself hungry now... talk amongst yourselves. What traditions does your family have? Any weird ones? C'mon, you can tell... we won't laugh. Much.