Have always been a real close family
But lately some of my kin folks
Have disowned a few others and me
I guess it's because
I kinda changed my direction
Lord I guess I went and broke their family tradition
Family Tradition - Hank Williams Jr.
We broke a couple of family traditions this year ourselves. For the first time in almost 25 years, we didn't gather at my uncle's house for Thanksgiving. On-going health concerns with him and another uncle ended a long streak of my side of the family gathering together for food, fellowship, drinking brews from a tailgate cooler, and watching my cousin-in-law arrive on a 4-wheeler from across the horizon as if he were one of the 4 rednecks of the apocalypse.
We also broke a long streak of traveling the Tennessee triangle - from middle Tennessee to Chattanooga to Knoxville to back home. Again, a health concern locally prevented us from traveling to Chattanooga. And a couple of family deaths in 2008 put kind of a damper on folks wanting to gather in Knoxville. So for the first time for me in almost 20 years, the in-laws came to camp with us rather than the other way around. It was kind of weird waking up in my own house on Christmas morn.
One tradition, however, held firm - a compass pointing to true north - a lighthouse's beacon - the sun rising in the east. The wife, ma-in-law, and sis-in-law all wound up on the couch at some point covered in a blanket.
I understand a post-holiday-dinner nap is often a part of many family gatherings, but these women talk so much year-round about how much they look forward to gathering together to visit. Instead, they inevitably adjourn to the couch (or recliners if the traditional visit to the in-laws had continued), draw an afghan up to their neck (the blanket kind - not the terrorist kind), and say NOTHING to each other for seemingly forever. Yet they all head for their respective homes having enjoyed the visit immensely.
To her credit, the wife had to sacrifice the blanket this year because she was the hostess.
They have even begun to extend this tradition to future generations by training my daughter to simply lie around. In this her first year of participation, she chose to stay somewhat alert and engaged by reading and forgoing the blanket. In years to come, however, I'm quite certain the blanket part will be added.
The health of both uncles is improving - and God is to be praised for that. All are pretty well expecting the Thanksgiving tradition to return as normal in 2009. And while the future of the Knoxville trip is still to be determined, I fully expect us to make the drive at least to Chattanooga next December as we've done for so many years.
I don't know what 2009 will bring. Many questions can't be answered right now about the economy, a new Presidency, escalation of tensions in the Middle East and between India and Pakistan, when The Office will jump the shark, etc.
But I do know that come next Christmas season, one certainty will still remain...The Blanketed Housewives.