Some family traditions give us feelings of roots and the idea that we belong. Others are just dumb and/or dangerous and someone ought to put a stop to them. (More)

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

My mom and her older sister grew up on a lake. My mom told my sons (we also lived on a lake) about the spring ritual of being the first person in the lake as the ice was melting. Mom was the second child in her family. She was very proud of being the first person in the lake every spring.

Any of the first born kids reading this might recognize a con at work. Set up a contest you have no intention of winning and sucker the younger kid with “winning.” My aunt, by the way had no recollection of this ‘contest’ when I mentioned it to her years later.

My two boys, after listening to their grandmother’s story one early Easter ran to put on their swimming trunks and headed for the lake. There was still some ice on the lake but the shoreline was open. And it was a tie. The next year my youngest ‘won’ with full immersion the end of March. The older son’s comment, “He can win this one. I’m cool.” At that point I put a stop to this before it became a full blown ritual. Or so I thought.

This year my grandkids and their cousins were introduced to this notion of swimming on Easter. Yikes, a new generation with the “I’m a hardy Minnesotan” story to tell. My oldest son, their dad, did not participate. He decided that his childhood record of March 29 was enough glory. My youngest son went in with the kids.

My youngest son is in the hospital hopefully just overnight as they pump him full of antibiotics to treat an abscess in his neck. Apparently it is strep run amok. I called the oldest last night to let him know about his brother. His comment, “He probably shouldn’t have gone swimming on Sunday if he was sick. Probably didn’t help.”

This could be just a harmless ritual. It could be dumb and/or dangerous. Crazy family stuff.

P.S. My youngest son said the ritual has become community wide so that people who live around a particular lake all go in the day of ice out. The battle is lost.