Here's the definition of TRADITION from dictionary.com:
"The handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice."
But...but...how does that apply to Thanksgiving when the "generations" have taken such a hit in the past couple years?
Well, that's my situation or so it seems. The year 2009 was the first without my brother, then 2010 was missing my dad, and now in 2012, it's the first without Annie. So many firsts.
And yet, if I really analyze it, was there ever a TRADITIONAL THANKSGIVING in my family? When I was a little girl, my Gorder cousins traveled up from San Diego and my great aunt and uncle came from downtown Los Angeles. Ours was the typical mixture of rambunctious kids making too much noise amid womenfolk trying to get dinner on the table.
But then my mother died, and the Gorder cousins moved away. Not sure what we did that first year (although I remember flying to Florida for Christmas). We probably spent a couple years in downtown L.A. (where my aunt sometimes made rabbit (!?!) instead of turkey), until my dad got married again and we started spending holidays with Annie's family.
Shortly thereafter, Barry married too and sometimes he and his new wife's family spent holidays with us, but sometimes they didn't.
Over the years, though, my most enduring memory of Thanksgiving consists of Barry's family and step-brother Mike's family...until, that is, Barry's own kids started marrying, at which time tradition...well, morphed once again. I can remember spending at least three Thanksgiving with Mike's sister-in-law, one of those occasions down in Palm Springs.
Bottom line, I guess I have to admit that even with the passing of my closest relatives, there's never been one SINGULAR tradition as far as who's at the table and who's not.
So why does Thanksgiving produce so much melancholy? Sandy Banks says it well in the L.A. Times:
"The holiday season tends to be hardest for those of us who've lost
someone. The focus on family and reliance on rituals just magnifies
those empty spots.
And the need for enforced cheeriness can turn the journey from Thanksgiving to Christmas into a wearying keep-your-chin-up slog.
There's this pressure to knit an age-old holiday around fragmented modern lives."
Which is why I'm establishing a NEW holiday tradition for this fragmented modern life I'm now leading.
Adios, bitches. I'm heading to Puerto Vallarta!