Custom, or ‘tradition’ as we might call it, beckons powerfully because it feels so…familiar. I look at my life and see an instant example:
We have a custom in our house around the Christmas tree and the custom is:
It falls over.
All I know this year is that the thing was still standing when i went to bed on the night we put it up -and by 6am it was lying face down on the rug. It made its swoony dive in the darkened midnight, as I picture it, startling only the mice that come around nightly to scoff at my Jif- baited traps before getting on with the regularly scheduled dance party they hold nights in our kitchen.
But if they were startled at the sight of the fallen tree, I certainly wasn’t. It’s tradition!
It also seems to be tradition for us to seriously procrastinate about putting the thing up.
It was December 4th when I bought this year’s model but we didn’t get our hands around its little neck to drag it inside until almost three weeks later.
When it fell, it lay in the living room the whole day – because who was going to pick it back up and once again drive in the Frankenstein bolts that hold it upright? I couldn’t. I’m only one person and I have a job too, even thought I do it from home. Old Dave couldn’t; he was off at his place of business. Our son couldn’t; back from grad school for the holiday, he was holed up in his room all day polishing off applications for summer internships.
“Hmmm,” I thought, every time I walked through the living room and saw it passed out on the floor like that.
“Let’s just skip the tree this year!” I said to my housemates once we three had gathered again at day’s end. “Let’s just drag the poor girl back outside, dab her up with bacon fat, or some of our mouse Jif and let the squirrels and birds come enjoy her.”
I pictured us watching through the kitchen window as they came to dine, even applauding when our pals the raccoons showed up with their fine little hands.
But did my son and husband agree that this was a good idea? Did they see as clearly as I did that the universe was making a suggestion to us about the custom of the Christmas tree as it relates to our family?
No siree. They both gave me that dead-eyed have-you-taken-leave-of–your-senses look designed to quell any future suggestion. Couple of stick-in-the-muds they are. I mean, where’s the adventure in doing things the same all the time?
But the last time I looked I was still the mistress of this house, so I got to plan the big holiday meal. The theme: Foods That Rhyme.I served ham, lamb, yams, clams, jams and Spam, the latter carefully chopped up and mixed with sweet relish to ‘pass’ as a fancy spread on tiny toast rounds.
I never told that it was Spam, I’ll admit, but hey, a girl’s got to have some fun. And an innovator? Well an innovator just gotta innovate! 😝