Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

An appeal to tradition is one of those appeals that will hook me and reel me in. I am vulnerable and volunteer to do time-consuming things. Holidays tend to amplify this tendency of mine.

The Fourth of July was my one big party of the year for 25 years. I made a big roaster of sloppy joes and provided buns and paper plates. Everyone brought a pot luck dish to share or pop or beer. Since this was set up on a big screen porch people could eat whenever they got hungry, all day long. Our neighborhood had a costume parade which I coordinated because I had little kids and wanted the tradition to continue. I did manage to hand that off after 20 years but my grandkids are in the same parade. One year I suggested to my boys that maybe grilling hamburgers and brats would be a nice change. My sons were not having any change. “But mom, we always have sloppy joes, It’s our tradition.” So on July 3rd for years I pulled out the big roaster and made 20 pounds of hamburger into sloppy joes.

I could experiment with different stuffings for turkey, but not on Thanksgiving. The stuffing was always made according to Grama Em’s recipe for the Thanksgiving turkey. Well, you get the picture. We all sang “Joy to the World” as grace.

For Christmas years ago I thought fancy stockings would be a nice tradition. When I asked at the craft store how long the kits would take to assemble the clerk told me she thought maybe an evening. When I read the directions and realized that a needle had to go up through each sequin, through a bead and back down through the sequin I realized that an evening was way optimistic. Each one then probably took 40 hours. They have gotten progressively more elaborate. When I had my boys I made two more. And then 3 more for friends who were spending the holidays with us. My kids thought they would feel left out. Then exchange students spent the holidays and they got stockings because by now I was trapped in this accidental tradition that I didn’t have the will power to stop. I am now making one for my third grandchild. The oldest two already have theirs.

I love traditions. I think they can anchor families and friends into rituals that are both comforting and familiar. That belief is how I get hooked. I suppose other people get hooked by the meanings in other words – duty, honor, responsibility. My hook is tradition.

The good news for the Democratic Party is that I have a tradition of canvasing and calling and an election doesn’t get by without that tradition happening. Obviously volunteering for elections is a lot more productive than these crazy stockings.

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