Happy New Year…Traditions

TOURNAMENT OF ROSES PARADE…this used to be an annual tradition of our family…my parents, brothers and yours truly—trekking to our Pasadena cousin’s home for as long as I can remember. It was a family affair. Most of my aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents would converge on their home along the parade route 🙂 where we would spend time together, reconnecting—yet again (…Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter were the other times we got together at our grandparents house in Corona), playing, eating, celebrating the new year and having a front row seat for the parade–for as long as we could stand the cold. After the parade, many of the adults would watch the Rose Bowl Game on TV as we cousins played in the back yard.

Strange which memories cling forever in the mind. I remember the parades, of course, but what I really remember is the gigantic, ancient red fire truck planted in their back yard. We climbed all over it, through it, around it. Loved that fire truck. But another lingering memory is the baby’s breath that trellised up a tree in their yard. Not sure why that sticks, but it does. Guess it was the “nature-girl” in me that made that memory stick. Teehee.

It was a special time. A very special time with family.

Once I married, I talked my boy-friend turned husband into attending several times, but he was overwhelmed (he was from a very small family—he could count extended family on two hands…well, plus maybe a couple extras fingers) by the sheer volume of family that was present. So, we started our own tradition by watching in the comfort of our home on TV each year, but it just wasn’t the same—not seeing it in person, not having all that family around…

After an early breakfast, we would sit down and watch the parade. That was part of the tradition: breakfast before—to keep the excitement and anticipation going just a little longer before any special event like Christmas, the New Year’s Parade or Easter. I managed to keep the Parade alive in our home for a while after my daughter was born, but somehow, the tradition petered out (to my dismay) and the day became just like any other…well, we did do the noisy, nighttime celebrating of the new year by clanging pots and pans, then later with other manufactured noise makers…but nothing more.

I did add (revive?) a new tradition by making cornmeal mush every New Years morn as our breakfast. My mom’s dad introduced that to our family when I was very young. After he died, my dad continued the tradition of the yummy, steaming-hot creamy dish with Log Cabin syrup. The cornmeal mush has remained a tradition for special events—Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years mornings…even Easter morning…but my husband (from Minnesota) introduced us to real maple syrup and I’ve never been able to go back to the sugary stuff my dad introduced us to…never—even as the price creeps upward.

I’ve recently decided to renew this tradition–well, the breakfast and TV viewing of the Parade. No way am I going to fighting for a spot then sit along the route (my relatives don’t live in Pasadena any more), freeze my patootie off waiting for the parade to begin. So, I watch it from the comfort of my home, snuggled up with my critters on the couch after a piping hot bowl of cornmeal mush. Yay for traditions—old and new!

…And all of the delightful memories that are attached that warm my heart and soul.

Here’s hoping you are able to establish and maintain some memorable traditions for your family, to be passed down for generations to come…

Happy New Year, folks…may it be blessed with what you need…and maybe a little of what you want.

New Year’s Day 2015

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