Old memories and new traditions

“Family traditions help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world.” 
~Susan Lieberman

Thanksgiving at Nate & Andrea’s, 2017 / Cindy La Ferle

My late parents loved holiday traditions, and I think of them often this time of year.

Right after Thanksgiving, my mother would adorn every tabletop and wall in the house with beautifully crafted decorations that rivaled those at Colonial Williamsburg. My father’s favorite carol was “Joy to the World,” and he would belt it out, off-key, every time it was played on the radio in the car or on the stereo at home. 

My folks also loved to entertain our extended family at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I recall helping Mom set the dining room table for both holidays, typically using her favorite set of Blue Danube china and a natural centerpiece of fresh fruit and evergreens. 

After Mom died three years ago, my son, Nate, and his wife, Andrea, agreed to keep that set of china rather than relegate it to the estate sale. I wasn’t sure, at the time, if the kids were humoring me or if they were too kind to refuse the sentimental gift. (Most millennials, I’m told, are not eager to inherit their parents’ heirlooms.)  

So you can imagine how touched I was to see Mom’s china on the kids’ table this Thanksgiving — the first Thanksgiving they’ve hosted in their new home. Andrea combined my mom’s china with a few of her own dishes and a gorgeous set of gold flatware that had been given to her by her maternal grandmother. 

It was a beautiful table of old and new traditions, overflowing with delicious food and surrounded by great company. My folks would have been so very proud. ~ Cindy La Ferle

Throughout my career, I've worked as a book production editor, travel magazine editor, features writer, and weekly newspaper columnist. My award-winning lifestyles features and essays have appeared in many national magazines and anthologies, including Newsweek, Reader's Digest, The Christian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest, Victoria, Better Homes & Gardens, Bella Grace, and more. My weekly Sunday "Life Lines" column ran for 14 years in The Daily Tribune (Royal Oak, MI) and won a First Place (Local Columns) award from the Michigan Press Association. My essay collection, Writing Home, includes 93 previously published columns and essays focusing on parenthood and family life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.