Monday, October 28, 2013

Traditions, Traditionally Speaking, The Mettle of which We Are Made...

I watch very little television, but yesterday, I saw a rebroadcast of a "documentary" about what makes the South different/special. I had seen the program a few years ago and found it entertaining so I decided I'd watch it again.  One of the first things up for debate, and this program, entitled: "You don't know Dixie," discussed it, is whether or not Texas is part of "the South." Being a proud, native Texan, I can tell you that in my humble opinion, Texas is not a part of any region, rather, Texas is it's own region. That said, there are some common "Texas Traditions" shared by those in other parts of the South. For example, we learn from the cradle to respect our elders, we have manners, we like to laugh (even at ourselves). We go to church on Sunday and during the fall, we attended services in college football stadiums on Saturdays, (personally, I attend Saturday services at Kyle Field Cathedral). 

Kyle Field Cathedral
Speaking of Kyle Field Cathedral, my personal connection to strong traditions is further reinforced by my maroon-blooded connection to Texas A&M. Being an Aggie means that you have a deep and profound connection with something greater than yourself. This quote sums it up: "From the outside, you can't understand it and from the inside, you can't explain it." Our school song, The Spirit of Aggieland, identifies it by: "There is a Spirit, can ne'er be told..." For me, a third generation Aggie, the Aggie traditions were an integral part of my upbringing. The traits of honor, loyalty, honesty, charity and generosity with which my parents raised us, are part of what it means to be an Aggie. For most of my life, our football team didn't give us the opportunities to brag about success so we also learned good sportsmanship. Another tradition, tied to football, (and other competitive areas) is the idea that "we may not win every game, but we never give up." In fact, perhaps being the punchline of so many jokes has helped to forge Aggies, worldwide to build the amazing network of brothers and sisters that we are today. 

Speaking of Traditions, it would be a huge oversight for me to neglect some of our other family traditions, especially in light of the coming holiday season. Halloween is coming up and Haime and I have a great tradition. We host several neighbors, (most of us have no more children at home) to a "trick or treat on the driveway." We enjoy wine and beer and snacks while we wait for the children/ghouls and goblins to come asking for treats. It's a lot of fun and a great way to catch up with what's happening in the neighborhood.

Thanksgiving is perhaps my favorite holiday. (I am honestly overwhelmed, at times by the enormity of the blessings that God has brought to me and I love the shared "Day to give thanks"). Our traditions have changed over the years. When I was a child, my family would celebrate our Thanksgiving dinner in either College Station or in Austin. You see, I had an uncle who lived in College Station, and an aunt in Austin and Texas A&M would play tu every year on Thanksgiving. We'd gather the family in which ever town the game was to be played so those interested in attending the game could join us for lunch prior to kick-off, (I told you that my blood is maroon ). Now, we typically gather at my mom's house for lunch. Most of my sisters and their family's attend but with such a large family, there are usually some that can't make it and they are truly missed.

So, in thinking about "Traditions" as they apply to us as a family or a country, I believe it is our "Traditions" that make us who we are. It is those shared customs, beliefs, codes of conduct, or family traditions that bind us together as a people. OK, so much for my "philosophical" postings, I promise, the next one will be more amusing...



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