Right about now, many Americans are preparing themselves for a Thanksgiving day filled with turkey and stuffing and football.
My family is dreaming of socks.
It’s a tradition in the Fenske clan. Each year, we rise before the sun does the morning after Thanksgiving and head to our local Fred Meyer retailer for their annual half-price sock sale.
It doesn’t matter if you need socks. It doesn’t matter that the sock selection is really no different a 5 a.m. as it is at 8 a.m. This is tradition, and it must be strictly observed.
The first year Pythagoras joined my family for Thanksgiving, he was perplexed.
“You already have plenty of socks,” he pointed out.
“That’s not the point. It’s tradition. Like pumpkin pie or turkey or having Hot Lips hit you with a spatula for cheating at Pictionary.”
“What happens to someone who breaks a tradition?”
There was an audible gasp as everyone in the family turned to stare. No one had ever considered this concept. Not even Hot Lips, who was reaching for her spatula at the mere thought.
Of course, Pythagoras has his own set of unusual family traditions. When we go to his parents’ house for Thanksgiving, we open Christmas presents. Yes, Christmas presents. Because much of his family spends Christmas in Germany, Thanksgiving is the only time we’re all assembled in one place and feeling festive. I actually look forward to it, since it trims out a lot of gift-buying stress in December.
Lest you think established tradition eliminates all hope of new traditions forming, I can assure you that’s not the case. We’ll be forming a new one this year as my long-divorced grandparents (Hot Lips and The Old Bastard) are forced to dine under the same roof. We will be frisking them at the door for weapons.
Do you have any unique traditions in your family? Anything that seemed normal growing up, but you realized with the addition of outsiders was not something all families did? Please share.
And please keep your hands off my socks. Touch the the pair I want, and I can assure you there will be bloodshed.