Family Traditions
November 01, 2012
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Family Traditions...


            I’m often asked by patients and friends, “How do you come up with something good to write every week?”


            I must first admit that their use of the adjective “good” is a flattering compliment.  While I certainly appreciate the kindness, these articles are often mediocre at best.  It’s hard to write four hundred interesting words about teeth week in and week out.  Every now and then, though, my ideas come across legible.  More times than not, I read Wednesday’s paper and see fifty or more words I should have changed.  I imagine this is true of most any writer.


            I arrived home this evening with a long to-do list, bills to be paid, unpacking to be done, a fist sized stack of unread dental journals,  and no inspiration for my weekly tome.  Instead of actually working I turned to a stack of graded papers from my seven year old.  Amongst the construction paper spider and picture book zombie stories was a first grade assignment and source of divine inspiration.  The assignment was titled “Family Tradition” and it got my wheels to turning.  My thanks in advance to Mrs. Maples and Mrs. Bordner. 


            In my life, family traditions have largely ebbed and flowed like the tides.  They tend to start and evolve and devolve and then change into some other tradition entirely.  Maybe this means that I’ve experienced few true family traditions.  I suspect, though, that this is a sign of modern life.  As time moves forward, our families mostly expand and grow and evolve. For a tradition to survive, it must follow suit. 


            As of now, here are a few that bring our family and friends together year after.  Maybe I’ll pass the first grade assignment.


            Halloween is still a hectic rush to get off of work in time to get the kids costumed and off to the streets of Llano and church parking lots for some trick-or-treating.  Yes, dentist’s kids get to trick-or-treat, too.  For now, the kids are still happy for us to walk them around.  I’m sure this will be short lived as they get “cooler” and we start to crimp their style.  As we walk the streets each year, alongside neighbors and friends, we appreciate our hometown.


            Then comes Thanksgiving which has traditionally revolved around the football match-up in College Station or Austin.  Alas, this year, that tradition ends due to pride and greed and money.  I’m sure there will be a big family meal somewhere, but it won’t be the same.  I can still remember bonfires and tailgates and pick-up football games as a kid.  Maybe someday “they” will wake up and the tradition will return.


            Then comes Christmas and New Year’s.  There’s decorating and hot chocolate at the walkway of lights at the park and hunting and family meals galore.  Last year, Sarge, the elf on the shelf, arrived.  Hopefully, he hangs on a few years.  Gumbo and college football bowl games help to ring in the New Year.


            Once again, I’m out of column space.  I have yet to get to the rites of spring, like the Crawfish Open or summer vacations or fishing tournaments and back-to-school. 


            At the end of the day, maybe life itself should just be one rolling family tradition.  Parents get older and kids grow up, but we do it all together.  Maybe that’s what tradition is really all about.


            Until next week, keep smiling.


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