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Traditional Love

I love the change of the seasons. Living in California we don't get to experience the seasons changing unless you live 8,000 feet above sea level. We who live down in the desert flatlands get 2 seasons: summer, and summer will be right back.

My heart longs for the changing of the trees, the sparkle of dew shimmering on gold, red, and orange leaves as they softly drift to the ground. I love how a gentle breeze can swirl them and carry them back into the canopy of the forest only to flutter back down to a new resting place. I love the smells unique to fall. When you walk down the street and smell a fire burning and the cool air causes you to clutch your sweater tightly around you, but even in the chill, your heart is filled with content. I love feeling like I'm walking in a Thomas Kincade painting and I long to experience those feelings again. When the leaves change and temperatures drop, I know the holidays are upon us. This is my favorite time of the year, when Halloween decorations have been put away and Thanksgiving plans are being made.

When I was growing up, there were only 2 holidays my family cared about, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I grew up without a formal dining room, so the living room became the center of everything. A large table began at the front door and filled the space entirely as 16 of my family members and their spouses and children gathered around and settled in. The meal always began with my grandfather's prayer, and with heads bowed, we gave our thanks for the blessings in our lives. My mother and grandmother always did the cooking and set a feast of traditional turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes, and home made biscuits. One year there was a surprise in the biscuits, which were brought out mid-meal. As we chomped down on the flakey white softness, we found coins hidden within. We laughed and cheered as we compared our treasure with others. We would engorge ourselves on the bounty even while we knew we had to save room for dessert. My mother would brew a pot of fresh coffee and present her homemade collection of pumpkin, cherry, and my favorite, Dutch Apple Pie Ala mode. We would all collapse on the floor in front of the box TV with the speakers mounted within, and would watch hours of football, cheering for our favorite team.

Traditions are the reoccurring stories we share of the memories created with the ones we love.

Over the years, those traditions have died along with family members who have passed away. Now, the children carry on their own traditions created with their own children. As I approach the steps of the house, I pause a moment to take in the sounds of laughter, the crackle of a fire, the smell of turkey, and of course, Dutch Apple Pie Ala mode.


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