Friday, September 25, 2020

Family Traditions

The traditions I refer to in the title are not things like holiday rituals or alcoholism. The things I am talking about are more like family legends. They are things we feel are unique to us and we have a lot of fun with them.

The seeds of maple trees have a "tail" on them. It is almost see through and is flat. It is wider at the end than it is at the seed. If you throw them into the air they spin and float to the ground. We call them helicopters. A handful of helicopters thrown at the same time is a sight to see.

My second granddaughter took a handful of helicopters to her second story bedroom. She tossed them into the air from her room. Some went up and floated straight down. Some just went straight down. Some caught little flows of air and went to the sides before floating down. It was spectacular.

My family considers snapdragons to be our family flower. My father delighted in taking a snapdragon to show a child how he could make the dragon open and close its mouth by gently squeezing the sides of the blossom.

When my mother died in a cold January I asked the florist if it would be possible to have arrangements made of summer flowers because she loved them so. It was possible. We were all thrilled to see snapdragons in the arrangements. When I asked my oldest son if he would like to leave anything with his grandmother he told me to take some snapdragons from the arrangements. So Mom was buried holding our family flowers.

Most members of the family like rain. We walk in it and we dance in it. Or maybe we just sit on the porch and watch it come down. A good storm is a delight with rolling thunder and an occasional flash of lightning.

When my oldest granddaughter was about 8 years old she came in and said, "Grandma, I smell rain coming. Do you want to come out on the porch to watch with me?" Of course I went right out and we had a wonderful time.

If you drive by a house where someone in our family lives and it is raining you might very well see people out dancing in the rain. From the oldest to the youngest we spin and twirl to celebrate the cleansing of the earth.

Gremlins are those troublesome little creatures who cause glitches in mechanical items. My father claimed that he brought one with him when he married my mother. The gremlin's name is Petey. Whenever an appliance or a car would act up we all blamed Petey.

Then I married a man of Irish descent. Suddenly we had leprechauns too. They were the ones hiding car keys and misplacing important papers. How many families can be so lucky as to have both gremlins and leprechauns?

I told my second granddaughter about feathers. The belief is that whenever you find a feather, especially a white one, a loved one who has died is watching over you. My granddaughter is constantly finding feathers. She even tells us who is thinking of her.

My granddaughter idolized my mother-in-law and two of my sisters-in-law. All of them are gone now. When my granddaughter found three feathers, all separate but in the same place, she knew they were from her great-grandma and her two great-aunts.

Have you ever seen a slope and wished you could just roll down? We do it all the time. It is freeing to be at the top and lie down and roll over and over until you are at the bottom.

My husband's parents owned a small farm in the Loess Hills. As soon as my children arrived on the farm when visiting the first thing they asked to do was climb the hill behind the house and roll down. Soon after there would be what they called "walking the hills".

Sadly after the deaths of both my mother-in-law and father-in-law the farm was sold. But happily the man who bought it has welcomed members of our family and allowed them to "walk the hills" and roll down the hill. He is a nice man.

As you can see it takes little to make a family tradition. It could be your evening walk as you point out interesting sights in the neighborhood. All that is important is that they create cherished memories that are carried to adulthood. Then they will try to re-create the same memories for their children. And the cycle continues.


  1. So much in this post brings back memories that I have not thought of for many years. We celebrated the wonderful small things in life like your family. Thank you so much for reminding me about them. Keep dancing in the rain drops, Emma.

  2. Lovely post. I went on a walk by the cypress trees around a large lake today. The tree and the water beneath were filled with white feathers. After reading this post, I like to imagine I had a lot of dead relatives checking in on me.

  3. Do you know, you have reminded me that when we were kids, we rolled down every slope that we could find! Also, if anybody got a new fridge, we would all get in the big box and tumble it about in the yard. Did you do that too? Mind you, that would have been at my friends' houses, I don't remember getting new appliances! :-)

    1. We had a couple that we made into playhouses in the alley. Then the mortician across the alley discarded a vault. We painted it and used it for a whole summer. The vault did not melt like the refrigerator boxes.

  4. I found a blue jay feather recently, and wondered which brother left it.

    1. I found a yellow feather a couple of years ago. It is still in the car. It goes well with the rubber tire patch from my sister-in-law.

  5. thank you for such beautiful sharing dear Emma :)

    i so enjoyed learning your lovely family traditions

    oh dancing in the rain and wish to roll down the slop sound so familiar ,yes i have these ones still with me :)

    i agree all it takes to create family tradition is deep love withing family members

    1. All families have traditions. All we need to do is notice them.

  6. These are some wonderful traditions, Emma, and nice that your family members celebrate them. In all honesty, I can't recall any in my own family but my husband and I always enjoyed sitting on the front porch and watching a rainstorm when we lived in VA. In winter, we enjoy sitting and watching the snow fall. So I suppose we are creating our own traditions.