Traditions are so important to us.

Everyone of us has a tradition that is near and dear to our hearts. Perhaps it has to do with our family. Maybe it’s one that is a neighborhood thing. Or it could be one that is so personal and private that only you are aware of it and you do it in private. That’s OK … whatever and however we honor our traditions is important.

Why important? Because traditions connect us to our past — that’s what a tradition is — it’s a happening that’s so important to us that we cannot let it go.

What did you anticipate as a child? Was it a game, a vacation, going fishing, playing hopscotch with your friends, oh, the list could go on and on. Think back for a moment and bring up an activity you always bring out every year and then ask yourself why it’s important to you. What would happen if you didn’t do that certain special moment/thing this year? How would you feel? Would there be an empty spot in your soul? If you feel it, how are you going to correct that empty feeling?

The easy answer is to just do it!

Take a breath, reach out and do it — the tradition is still there and it’s probably been missing you and that’s why this coming weekend is going to be fulfilling to me.

We have been invited to spend time with our family this weekend and we are eagerly looking forward to that time together. Like many of us, family traditions got put on hold this past year and this year we are going to — in a safe way — revive one family tradition that has been with us before our kids were born — carving pumpkins.

Every since my wife and I came together in Germany, we’ve carved pumpkins for Halloween. I did it growing up every since I can recall and that tradition went from our Minnesota farm to Germany, New Jersey, Louisiana and finally back to Minnesota. It’s deeply immersed in my blood and the anticipation of continuing the fall activity is so exciting.

What face will I carve into the pumpkin this year? What faces will be staring back at me from the family’s carvings? It’s so much fun and, of course, we must have our apple cider and doughnuts for the event! What memories will be created this weekend to add to the list I have from previous carvings? To be answered…

As adults, we always end the carving activity with a toast and this year it will be with an apple cider Bourbon cocktail in our hands. This cocktail is simple to make, is extremely tasty and finishes any carving with grace. My favorite bourbon for this drink is Bulleit Bourbon. It’s rich, flavorful and pairs nicely with a good apple cider.

A bit ago I purchased a Greek wine named Kourtaki and it comes from the vineyards of Attica. I’ve never tasted this wine and I’ll bring it along with us for the entire family to sample this weekend. Apparently the recipe is very old and incorporates some pine resin in the fermentation process. Resin? See why it’s going to be interesting? Maybe it’ll join our pumpkin carving tradition going forward.

Another Halloween tradition we have is one in which I scare our youngest son (now age 35, what?) with a moment of Halloween pumpkin. After dark, I sneak outside, set up a diversion outside a window and then, with a carved lit pumpkin, stand right beside the window — out of sight — and wait for him to come to the window to see what is causing the diversion. At that point and when his face in fully in the window, I jump into his view and shove the pumpkin in his face and yell BOO!

The whole activity sounds kind of ishy now but we’ve had so many good times with it and I expect our son is kind of anticipating this tradition to continue. Then it will be time to finish the event with another tradition — a glass of Sandeman Port.

Sandeman is an excellent Port and with its rich nutty flavor it’s the perfect ending to a perfect fall pumpkin carving event.

So, why are traditions important to us? For all the reasons just listed and many more. It’s via traditions that we anticipate important elements in our lives. May your traditions bring much richness into your life.

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!



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