Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I love tradition. I love the stories that blend the years together. I love that when one of my siblings or my nieces or nephews tells a story about a time on the beach at Breezy Point Resort or a particularly snowy New Year's Eve at Beaver Valley Camp, we have no idea which year it was. In fact, it seems like it "always happened". We say, "Remember how we always used to..." and in fact we only did it once or twice, but the years and the stories all blend together when you go some place or do something year after year, time after time.

With a baby experiencing his first year of life, his first year of experiences, we are both sharing our traditions with him and forming new traditions that are inspired by him and for him. Every year, Cliff and I go cut a Christmas Tree together. Last year, we brought Gavin with, although he was only three week's old and we had sub-zero temperatures, so he had to stay bundled up in the warm car. This year, we might have him choose the tree, or hang the first decoration, and he'll surely hang the angel.

My family is bound tightly together with the familiarity and healing comfort of tradition. We have done such things as a family camping weekend, kayaking trips, extended family reunions, girls breakfasts and girls weekends, and deer hunting at our family's land up north. The more traditional holiday traditions like Christmas in my parents living room, now has to be done in shifts of generations. All the grandkids open gifts first and then go somewhere else to play while the kids (my generation) open gifts.

Traditions make me feel secure, at home, familiar.

Fifteen years ago this July, Cliff and I went on our first date. We went to River Falls days where we rode "The Zipper" until I was sick and we played the bulldozer game! We couldn't afford to eat at the carnival, so we went back to his cousin's house and made macaroni & cheese. It was the best macaroni & cheese I've ever had. We haven't missed River Falls days in fifteen years. We go every year. Sometimes we only make it to the parade, or to the street dance or the band at the West Wind Supper Club... but we always make an appearance.

Fifteen years ago this August, Cliff invited me to the Pierce County Fair where he was showing a cow... or a heifer?... for his last year of 4H. I'm not sure which it was - I would assume it was a cow since Cliff's parents were dairy farmers, but I suppose it could have been a heifer. Do cows go to the fair? Cliff and I still go to the county fair each year. My favorite part is the Demolition Derby, but I also love the tractor pull, the photography & art exhibits, and the goats and sheep. We eat battered & fried Ellsworth Cheese Curds, a must-have when at the county fairgrounds in Ellsworth, Wisconsin!

This year was Gavin's first River Falls Days, his first Pierce County Fair, and his first Threshing Bee. He enjoyed seeing his Daddy and his Grandpa "J" (Jennings) driving tractors in the parade, he enjoyed the icy limey-ness of his first freezie. He pet his first goat, sheep, and llama at the fair and sampled some ice cream and a cheeseburger (okay, only the bun!). He rode in the Threshing Bee parade with Grandma & Grandpa wearing his "I (heart) My Grandpa's Engines" shirt. He is becoming the most important part of many of our lasting traditions.

(Click on images to enlarge)


We'll have similar pictures to these each year, with Gavin being one year older in each. How fun to introduce and share our tradisions with him. How fun to watch him experience this and form his own precious memories.

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