The morning of Palm Sunday it struck me to say something about tradition. Every time I hear the word, I think of the musical, “Fiddler on the roof”. In the beginning, Tevye, the poor milkman, is extolling the customs of the Jewish people to his family by singing a song called “Tradition”. When I was in Middle School (aka Junior High), I sang in the show choir (aka swing choir). We did a Fiddler on the roof medley and that song is one that will be forever etched on the walls of my skull. Ah, Good memories though, all the same.
In my youth, I would have described old man Tevye as out of touch with reality. These days I’m much older, and of course, much, much wiser and can totally respect Tevye’s point of view. Traditions are quite literally the glue that hold families and communities together.
Sunday morning found me and my family enjoying a fabulous breakfast at one of our local Catholic churches. The Knights of Columbus put on an annual fund-raiser for Special Olympics. I also enjoyed the company of my in-laws who were very generous to provide the tickets.
We’ve done this a couple years now and we all have a really good time. The breakfast is sensational. Pancakes that taste like they have a hint of vanilla in the batter (my secret ingredient) Some spicy country-style sausage and some baked ham for those whose digestion doesn’t care for pepper. (or for healthy eaters like myself who have some of each). Breakfast is dressed up with some cut up pieces of banana, juice, milk, and my Norwegian gasoline, coffee.
We show up bright and early at 8AM when everything is fresh and hot, enjoy a meal and fellowship, and finish with plenty of time to make it to Sunday School and church.
I enjoy the breakfast, not only for the food and visiting, but of the memories it brings of my youth. I was blessed to grow up in a family that took mealtimes seriously. We did a special breakfast once or twice every week. We either went out where my favorite place was what was then called the Kirkwood Inn which is now the Best Western Ramkota. You felt just like you were dining in a castle with separate dining rooms each with its own roaring fireplace and the water served in heavy metal goblets it took both my small hands to lift.
Or we ate in and dad did the cooking. We’d have his famous “loaded” scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, toast and a big pitcher of orange juice. Another blessing is growing up in a family where the men on my dad’s side are no strangers around the kitchen. Many years ago my dad told me it was never a good idea to be totally dependant on someone else for your next meal. Wise, wise words I am finally now beginning to appreciate.
Yes, sometimes our youth will groan at the mention of traditions. You have to get up beastly early so everyone is cleaned and prettied up in time to face the world. And sometimes I’ve asked myself if this is really worth it as I deal with the complaining children and a stressed out wife.
Happily, I can still say, most emphatically, YES! Traditions are important, even if you don’t appreciate them until years later. I wouldn’t give them up, or the memories they create, for anything in this world.