Monday, December 23, 2019

An Old Tradition, A New Tradition

Traditions have such variety and frequency.  Some are once in a lifetime events:  celebrating the birth of a baby, a marriage, a baptism or bar mitzvah.  Some traditions happen annually, like Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, or celebrating a birthday.  Others may happen weekly, such as a family game or activity night or attending  church.  And some, though perhaps not thought of as traditions, happen daily. 

The Old Tradition
Not an everyday meal but Christmas dinner 1958.
I had not thought of daily family meals around the table as a tradition until my daughter was in college and thanked me for keeping that tradition in our family.  We always ate dinner together except on the rare occasions when my husband worked late.  Some meals were more fun than others.  Not everyone like the food at every meal and there was a good chance that one or the other of us was short-tempered, tired, or crabby on occasion.  Even so, it was a time in the day when we were together and interacting.

The tradition of eating meals together didn't start with me, though.  During my childhood our family always sat down together for lunch and dinner.  (Maybe the others ate breakfast together, too, but if so, I must have been excused because I was not a morning person, not even as a child.)  Not all of us were there for lunch but whoever was, we sat and ate.  And since my father worked turns, every third week he worked what we called afternoon turn (3 to 11) and wasn't home for dinner.  Those weeks we all sat together for dinner at noon and had a lighter supper in the evening with all of us except my father.

I'm not sure families do this so much these days.  So often children and youth have activities after school -- sports practice, musical lessons, part-time work, etc. -- which would make it doubly difficult for everyone in the family to sit together for every dinner.  So it goes.  Times change and families adapt and create their own traditions.

When my daughters were younger we had several traditions during December, focused on Christmas.  Most have since gone by the wayside:  children become adults and move away; interests change; etc.

A New Tradition
About five or six years ago we began attending Merry TubaChristmas on one of the Mondays before Christmas.  One of our daughters schedules her time off to be able to attend.  If the other daughter can be here with her family, they also attend with us.  (The bonus to this tradition is eating bagels at Block's Bagels before the concert.)

If you haven't been in a concert hall with a stage full of tubas playing Christmas music you've really missed something.  My imagination tells me the sound is like hearing music through layers of whale blubber -- a deep bub, bub, bub -- and oh so fun.  Every year I laugh when the tubas sound the first notes of the first song.  It's just delightful.  Here's a video my daughter made, though the sound is much less satisfying on the video than in real life.  And only a few tubas are playing.

Tuba players are serious about tubas.  This particular song is "Santa Wants a Tuba for Christmas."

I like traditions.  They offer a break in the dailiness of life and give one an event to look froward to.  And they usually bring family members together.

This post was written for Amy Johnson Crow's 2019 version of 52 Ancestors.  The post topic was "Tradition."


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  1. Oh that tuba music! Several years ago when we vacationed in New Orleans, we went to a jazz club that featured a tuba and trumpet duo. I expected to laugh myself silly but was surprised at how good the program was.

  2. I always thought of tubas as adding background, bass music to an orchestra, Wendy. I was surprised at how great they sounded all together in a concert. I think a tuba and trumpet would be great together!


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