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BREAKING WITH TRADITION

24 November 2002

 For two years now, as Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve thought about sitting down to write an entry called “Tradition.”  I actually did it in 2000, which I realized when I started to do it again in 2001.  I told about the 30 or so years we’ve been going to Walt’s mother’s condo at Lake Tahoe, about how we used to play charades and how now we play solitaire and card games.  I talked about how it was a pot-luck dinner so nobody had to do a lot of work and how much we looked forward to it every year.

 That all changed when David died.  Thanksgiving at Tahoe was very difficult that year, and as we joined hands to say grace before dinner, a lot of tears were shed, but we gave thanks that the family unit was strong.

 Then Paul died.  I hated Thanksgiving that year (1999).  We were used to death by then (she says, sarcastically).  The tears were there, the family was there, the pumpkin pie was there.  The solitaire was there, but as I looked around at now two empty places, I knew that it would never be the same again.

 When we went to Tahoe for Thanksgiving in 2000, I tried to concentrate on the good memories—and there are very good memories connected with that condo.  That helped a little, but it just doesn’t seem right to continue the family traditions when the family has changed so drastically.

 Last year we once again made the 2 hour drive.  By this time, the whole family dynamic had changed even more.  Ned and Marta now split their time, one year with us, one year with Marta’s family.  Tom and Laurel (did I mention they’re engaged now?) also spend one year with her family and one year with us, and they trade off Thanksgiving and Christmas—if they’re with us for Christmas, they aren’t for Thanksgiving, and vice versa.

 So there are new missing faces, at least on some years.

 I know that change is inevitable.  Maybe I don’t do change well.  The adjustment seems to be more difficult for me with each passing year.

 So this year we are breaking with tradition entirely.   Since Tom and Laurel have just announced their engagement and since they spent a weekend in LA with our family recently, they are staying with Laurel’s family this year (also they are actually here this weekend—to do some work at the condo before the folks arrive for Thanksgiving, and to go to the 49er game on Monday night).

 Likewise, Ned and Marta will be with Marta’s family this year.  Marta’s step-mother just lost her own mother and it’s a time for that family to pull together.

 At the same time, my mother decided she didn’t feel like making the long drive up to Tahoe this year so we are going to do things entirely differently.

 Walt is going to Tahoe with his mother, sister, brother and sister-in-law.  I’m making pumpkin pies as usual for him to take with him.

 Tom and Ned will be with their respective other families.  Jeri, since she was just here for the wedding and is now teaching classes at Berklee College of Music, can’t fly out here for a weekend, so she will be with friends in Boston.  And my mother and I are going to a restaurant—a fancy restaurant—for dinner.

 I’ve never spent Thanksgiving—or any family holiday—at a restaurant and am actually kind of excited about it.  The obvious plus is that there will be no pumpkin pie or turkey stuffing calling to me at 3 a.m.  I won’t worry about points or anything else while we’re at the restaurant, but it will be easy to take up where I left off when dinner is over.

 We’re moving on.  The family is still strong in our love for one another, but time inevitably changes things, people grow and change and move on to new parts of their lives.

 I’d love to be looking forward to a rousing game of charades, with David and Paul laughing at Grandma’s attempts to act out some funny song title.  But those days have faded into memory.  I will always treasure the wonderful memories I have of the condo.   But maybe it’s time to move on.

Quote of the Day

The leaves of memory seemed to make
A mournful rustling in the dark.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Photo of the Day

theaxe.jpg (31185 bytes)

This is the axe passed back and
forth between Cal and Stanford
at The Big Game....
which Cal took back today.

GO BEARS!!!

 

 

One Year Ago
Black Out!
We are in the middle of a major storm. All power has gone out, so I'm on limited battery power on the laptop, have moved furniture so I can connect the laptop to the computer modem, and am sitting here typing in the dark, as the storm rages outside.

Two Years Ago
Tears and Laughter
This is our first holiday here without Paul. And it's been difficult without Dave for these 4 Thanksgivings. We all cried a bit, but then it was time to pass the potatoes, and, as this family does, we kept on going.


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Created 11/19/02