Friday, March 21, 2008

Traditions [CCR]

Each year it seemed we always donned our best for Easter services. Everyone arrived at church on Easter morning in the sharpest clothes they could find in their closet. Some of us sported something new while others dug deep in the closets to find their best.

As a child Mom said I always wanted to wear a tie to church. I don’t understand why I don’t remember the deep desire, but I do remember the day my Dad gave me his mustard seed tie tack to wear. I thought I was something special. That tie tack is still in my box of accessories.

Before leaving the house I searched through the room for my Bible. I always had my favorite Bible that I carried to church. As a small child it was a small white Bible given to me by the Gideons. Later I remember carrying a red Bible given to me by my parents one Christmas and more recently the Bible given to me by the church for my high school graduation. I recently gave that Bible to my son who now carries it as I once did.

Family traditions such as these provide connections to home and those comfortable years no matter where you move. It may differ in how it is formed. For example, some of my friends had spring traditions that came with Passover. Others may include connections to simple family life.

Another tradition at my house was the family garden. We always knew that by the time we reached Granddaddy Smith’s birthday it was time to plant the garden. I am sure that tradition started long before my arrival, but it is stuck in my mind to this day. In that respect I am very busy rushing to complete my spring garden preparations and the past few weekends have included quite a bit of digging in the dirt planting trees and grape vines at our new house.

The week after Easter we will renew another family tradition when our new goats arrive. As a child we kept ponies, cows, goats, and various other farm animals. The cows graciously provided fresh milk and the ponies many hours of pleasure. I think Mom and Dad wanted us to enjoy the full experience of growing up in Alabama. Keeping the animals was work, but for every complaint we had then we have a pleasant memory now. We did have chickens for a short time, but I think it was a little much for Mom to chase the chickens out of the garden.

Hopefully we each have built such traditions into our lives. Many of our elders will gladly testify that such memories keep us company through the years. A college professor once taught me that one aspect of marriage was the combining of two historical perspectives of traditions. It is the combination of these traditions with your family that brings new excitement to the entire family as you build those traditions for future generations.