Monday, July 16, 2007

Transition Of Tradition

The untrodden path is choked by the weeds of tradition. Be not afraid to cut through. - Admiral Hyman G. Rickover

Earlier this week, I posted some highlights of our vacation but I wanted to single out a conversation I had with Mrs. Joe one night while we were there.

Traditionally since Mrs. Joe was a kid, her grandparents would take her and my mother-in-law to The Whitman House for dinner while vacationing on Cape Cod. Both Mrs. Joe and my mother-in-law are an only child so it would be the 4 of them. This occurred every year up until her grandmother's passing a few years ago. (Her grandfather passed away some time in the 90's.) Since then, only Mrs. Joe and I have gone there for dinner while we were on vacation. My mother-in-law didn't show much interest continuing the tradition. Either way, it’s a safe bet that Mrs. Joe has had dinner there once a year for the last 30 years.

This year she ended that tradition.

Not because she wanted to end the tradition, but simply because Mrs. Joe didn't feel the same about the place. Without her grandparents and her mother, The Whitman House became nothing more than a restaurant to her. Changes to the place didn't help either. The menu had been changed and the bartender that made her Shirley Temples as a kid and Cosmos as an adult had moved on. So with having only two or three nights to go out to eat while on vacation, there were better choices. Her decision to let it go was tough and I could see she was having a hard time with it

I figure, the two of us are responsible for the traditions Peanut and The Champ will remember and pass on to their children. It should not matter that the traditions they will grow up with were started by us or by others. What matters is that there are some traditions, whether it is dinner at a special restaurant while on vacation or dinner at McDonald's once a week just because.

Aren't most traditions simply born from repetition, anyway? Years from now, we all will have had a few recurring events become traditions. Traditions that we will want our children to pass on to theirs.

Now that Mrs. Joe had cleared the weeds to this path, I guess we will have to wait and see where it takes us.



Anonymous Chaos Control said...

I grew with with my own Whitman House ... mine was Caesar's in San Francisco. And like Mrs. Joe, I mourned the ending of the tradition after the passing of my Great Aunt and Grandmother, with whom I enjoyed many meals at Caesar's over the years.

But, as you pointed out, new traditions are born and I will forever have my memories.

Mon Jul 16, 06:23:00 PM 2007  
Anonymous Dan said...

Traditions are important to kids. They provide a framework on which to hang memories. Or they did for me anyhow.

Have fun in making your new ones:)

Mon Jul 16, 06:57:00 PM 2007  
Blogger charlottalove said...

I appreciated that quote on traditions. It does take strength to change them or accept that they have changed.

One of my families "traditions" is to talk about our old traditions. May seem silly but it brings the same sense of satisfaction.

Tue Jul 17, 09:17:00 AM 2007  
Anonymous TwoBusy said...

Very nicely done.

Tue Jul 17, 09:28:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Ben & Bennie said...

It was really difficult to abandon traditions as my grandparents and eventually my father passed on. Just like Mrs. Joe trying the old traditions without them just wasn't meaningful. Thankfully making new ones with our kids has been excellent filler of the past emptiness.

Most excellent post, Joe.

Tue Jul 17, 03:43:00 PM 2007  
Blogger mcewen said...

I'm with Dan, it's making the new traditions that is fun.

Wed Jul 18, 03:32:00 PM 2007  

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