When I think of traditions I think of sporting events, especially college athletics and their mascots. I also think of the family holiday traditions I have experienced.
Texas A&M is known as a tradition rich college. I understand they even have yell practice the night before games, which seems unnecessary; I never met a Texan that needed to practice yelling.
Oklahoma State has this cowboy with a big head, imagine that a cowboy with a big head, he has been around a long time he has had the big head since about 1958. I believe that qualifies as a tradition.
The Oklahoma Sooners had this guy known as “Little Red” on their sidelines for about 15 years. He had attained tradition status. A national push to become politically correct banished him to the locker room about forty years ago. They also had this crazy dog, running all over the gym during basketball games, an administrative decision sent him to the pound a few years ago. They do have this wagon and horses, approaching 50 years of age. Not the same horses, I know horses don’t live that long. I think that qualifies as a tradition. The gym is not a good place for horse drawn wagons. They replaced the crazy dog with a couple guys dressed as horses. I don’t think they will attain the coveted tradition status.
It is almost 1:00 am and quite frankly college sports is not the reason I am wide eyed and pounding this keyboard. Speaking of the keyboard, you should see this thing. It is covered with tear, coffee and Pepsi One stains, little bits of popcorn, peanuts, and other assorted food items. I should clean it but I’m afraid the high strength stuff I would need to use would ruin it and keyboards are a little like old shoes, it fits and I don’t want to break in a new one.
Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, life has once again made it necessary to modify or maybe even start some new traditions. It happens every few years in all families. This time will be a little more difficult at our house.
In the movies everyone goes to Grandmas house. Grandpa carves the turkey at the table. There is enough room for everyone at the table. After the meal the women all put on aprons and clean the dishes. The men and boys including Grandpa go to the front yard and play football. They then come back in the house and watch some football on TV. It didn’t work that way in my family.
When I was a kid I don’t know who carved the turkey, because kids didn’t sit at the big table. I think the women did clean the dishes, I don’t know about the aprons. I don’t remember even having a football and the first Thanksgiving day NFL game on TV was in 1956; I was already14 years old.
My earliest memories of Thanksgiving are family gatherings with my dad’s parents and his siblings and a bunch of my cousins. We went to Grandmas house or Aunt Ruth’s house. That was a long time ago and I really don’t remember many details but the memories I do have are good.
My crazy years, late teen to early twenties, if I was in town and wasn’t working, Mom would make sure I was at her house at the appropriate time. It is amazing how screwed up my priorities were during that time in my life.
During the first twenty-five years or so of our marriage Thanksgivings were pretty structured and traditional. Not movie traditional, we didn’t play football, grandpa didn’t carve the turkey, and we didn’t all fit around one table.
We did lunch with her family at Aunt Nova’s. The number of family members varied from year to year but there was always a big group. Nova knew how to do Thanksgiving right.
We slipped in a short visit with Sharyl’s grandparents and her dad’s family on the way to my parent’s house for dinner.
Most of the time all my siblings and most of their kids were there. Mom and Dad didn’t have a very big house so it was pretty crowded. We always enjoyed the visit and I could write an entire post on my mom’s kitchen escapades.
By the time we got home Sharyl and I felt like we had ran a marathon, especially when the kids were small.
My mom’s death in ’91 brought that tradition to a close. The girls were grown, in fact Lori was married, and we were brand new grand parents. We started doing thanksgiving at our house with our immediate family. Cale and Conner went to Grandmas or I prefer Maw Maws house for their first Thanksgiving.
We continued to go to Nova’s for a few more years, and then about ten years ago suddenly we were the old generation.
The marathon days were over for Sharyl and I. The girls were learning about marathons and traditions and keeping everyone happy. Sharyl and the girls did all the cooking, however Grandpa or I prefer Paw Paw carved the turkey. I didn’t do it at the table; it is much easier to carve a turkey on the cabinet with an electric knife. The ladies cleaned the dishes but I don’t remember seeing an apron, if there is one in the house I haven’t found it. We didn’t play football but we usually watched a little. We tried afterward but really 2007 was the last traditional thanksgiving at our house.
Thanksgiving day ’08 Sharyl and I came home from the hospital with this thing called cancer. She felt pretty good in ’09 and if the elephant hadn’t had a place at the table we would have had a traditional “Dave and Sharyl” Thanksgiving. Elephants at the dinner table are hard to ignore. I will just say we went through the motions in ’10 and ’11.
Our plan for Thanksgiving 2012 is for the immediate family to be at our house. The girls and I have the menu planned, we are changing some things and know who is responsible for what; I am confident the food will be good and there will be plenty of it. Last year there were eleven of us; this year there is nine. The elephant this year will be the two empty chairs. We will each handle it in our own way. The mission is to enjoy the fellowship to the extent possible and to focus on the many things for which we are truly thankful. Maybe some new traditions can take root.
I hope you and your family enjoy your kind of traditional Thanksgiving.
I could probably use an extra word of prayer this week.
Good Night and God Bless.