Marin County, July 16, 2017 — For her birthday, Adrienne came down from her Oregon home to visit with her daughters and grandchildren. Her whole family was there: Layla, Celina, Jessica, Dameon, and even Rhiannon and her puppy “Penny,” who flew in from Germany. All of them remembered …
Marin County, December 24, 2007 –– In our house on Scenic Avenue in San Anselmo, I made up a Christmas Eve Tradition. Because the previous month at Thanksgiving, due to Layla’s insistence, we had enjoyed a wonderful dinner of Tofurky. Ha! Enjoyed? Who am I kidding?
The Tofurky Experience
We agreed unilaterally that we would NEVER have Tofurky again. Maybe it’s ok for some things, but as a substitute for a proper Thanksgiving dinner … thank you, but no. So here we are coming up on Christmass Eve, and dinner was a problem. Because Adrienne doesn’t cook; it’s against her religion. And franky I don’t know how to do a turkey, and it’s a lot of work, and so invention being the mother of necessity … I made up an old family tradition.
It worked like this: We invited Layla and the Celinas (Joe and kids) for a family dinner on Christmas Eve. From the bakery, I got a cake made up like a Yule Log, and then for the actual dinner, I went to the Chinese Restaurant and brought home a huge feast in many white boxes. We also had lots and lots and lots of Fortune Cookies, which most of us snuck under the table to Tulip, because fortune cookies were her favorite dessert.
I told them how it had been my family’s tradition for many years.
A bald-faced lie. We didn’t even have any Chinese restaurants in Henrietta, Texas. But being trusting people, and children, they believed. And …
Presto! Our Instant Family Tradition
And thereafter, every year, and even when Adrienne and I moved to Mt. Shasta, it was the Adrienne, Flower, Reeder family tradition every Christmas Eve, the traditional Chinese food feast.
And so it was, that when Adrienne came to celebrate her birthday, they were all there. Other than bonds of memory and affection, I am no longer a part of that family, so I was not there. But afterward, however, I was delighted to hear that …
Tradition Lives On
Marin County, July 16, 2017 — Adrienne had lots of fun visiting with Layla, Celina, Jessica, Dameon, Rhiannon, and Penny, and Adrienne was surprised to discover, as they all thought back, that they all remembered the Christmas Eve tradition. It had become part of their common history, fondly remembered.
But here’s the surprising part. It seems that, every one of them, children grown now and their own lives far from the nest, all of them carry on our family tradition: All of them celebrate a Chinese feast for Christmas Eve, every year.
An invented tradition. True as time itself.
But wait. Could the future truth have subtly created the invention in the earlier time? What if time is circular reaching both forward and back, though we can see only part of its flow.
Isn’t it funny? Like a tiny drop of water, falling onto the surface of the still lake of time, rippling gently on and on and on, until at some point in an unremembered future it reflects back to a past that perhaps never was.