Traditions are great, especially those that involve families. Our parents and grandparents, Pat and Donna Lou Elder, Don and Vera Pepper, and our honorary grandparents, Lee and Neva Kiefer, always made sure that these year-to-year traditions were carried through. They included such things as special foods, gift giving, etc for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter... Another important tradition in our home, like so many others, was the group singing of the ever-popular Happy Birthday to the birthday celebratee as soon as he/she awakened for the day.
As my sisters, Lori and Lona Sue and myself left our protective homes and entered into the "real" world of college and marriage, that tradition carried on through the usage of the telephone. Bright and early, those much anticipated and loved messages came through. To this day, Mama, Lori, Lona Sue, Hunter, Lars, Leighlyn, Abigayle and myself continue singing through the airwaves on those very special days. I like to believe that as our particular generations pass on, that our children will continue to pass that torch of love and joy onwards to each other, and their children...
Forty-eight years ago today, October 29th, my Daddy stood in a cramped labor room at the Wichita County Hospital as Mama presented him with identical twin daughters. They were expecting one baby which was a good thing since my sister died before birth. I remember how Daddy told me that as soon as he heard me take my first breath and begin to whoop and holler, his stinging tears of joy flooded his face. Those tears of joy again surfaced when Lori and Lona Sue made their entrances into our world. Daddy was not the kind of man who cried at the drop of a hat. He didn't have much control over that though when his three daughters and only biological grandchild whom he ever had the opportunity to welcome into our very tightly-knit family, were born.
From October 29th, 1961, I was blessed with the greatest parents ever!!! I so hate the fact that my birthday in 1994 was my last that I actually heard his voice singing Happy Birthday to me. However, when Mama calls to give me her wishes, I still think that I can hear Daddy's voice in-tune with her. Call me crazy, (alot of people have), but it still brings tears of joy to my eyes when I think that I am hearing his beautiful voice singing to me...
When Mama made her annual celebratory call to me this morning, she told me that Daddy was the one who started that tradition in our family. That is so very special especially given the fact that Daddy was an orphan by the age of 6-years-old. After that, he was bounced from one loving sister to the next. Daddy was blessed with 6 great sisters who had all been born before his five brothers and himself. The sisters finished raising the brothers from where their parents, Roy and Helen, had left off. Uncle Lee and Aunt Neva raised Daddy for most of those years. (In case you're interested, here is the list of Daddy's brothers and sisters: Alice Summers, Addie Strobridge, Bessie Burch, Ruby Whitney, Neva Kiefer-Duncan and Laura whom passed away when she was still a child. His brothers included Buck, Red, Frank, Dick and Lewis. Alice was the oldest and Daddy was the youngest. Today, only 3 of the twelve children remain-- Alice, Bessie and Neva.)
Since I believe that EVERY family should have their own traditions, I say that it is never too early or too late to start them... The future generations of your family will appreciate them.