Tradition also means change

Whenever I hear people talk about traditions, a quick story flashes through my head. I don’t know if it is true or not, but it’s still a good story.

A young woman was cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the family. They had always gone to the in-laws to eat dinner and she was very much looking forward to impressing both sides of the family at her first hosted Thanksgiving with dishes and traditions that were passed down to her. When it came time to prep and cook the turkey, she cut it in half along the breast bone, laid each half in two separate pans and cooked it like that — just like her mom always did it and her grandma before her. When the turkey was served, it was “reassembled” for display. She never saw a turkey roasted whole before she married and went to her in-laws last year and started helping prep the meal.


2 Replies to “Tradition also means change”

  1. The thing with traditions, though, is that how they originally came into being may well not be as important as the traditions themselves. I’m told that the first Thanksgiving was with the Pilgrims and the Indians. Maybe not. I’m told that Lincoln was the one who made it a national holiday because of the Civil War. Maybe not. Regardless of where it came from, it is here, and here for those who wish to participate. For 35 years my wife and I have made pumpkin pies for our parents. Mine are long gone, but we still do it for hers. And still, on Thanksgiving I am reminded of all I have to be thankful for. Were the origins of the day bogus? Maybe. But who cares? I don’t!

  2. Some traditions are harmless, but when elected leaders start making public policy based on the false origins of a tradition as fact, that is when things get scary and do very much matter. Telling ourselves harmless lies in order to more fully enjoy pie is ok; telling ourselves lies about traditional family units in order to exclude those who don;t fit the tradition is not.

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