By John Matonich
One of the things I really enjoy about this time of year is the number of traditions that seem to be a part of the calendar from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. Whether my memory goes back to my youth or even simply last year, there are very special times that make me smile whenever they come to mind.
An older tradition I remember as a young boy was the baking everyone did and then shared with friends and families. One of our neighbor families was from Germany and I still remember the plate of traditional German goodies they gave us each year. I have always enjoyed getting to taste things from other countries and this time of the year helps that happen a lot.
It isn’t only about food either. Many traditions involve family activities or even whole town activities. A larger town two hours to our west is Duluth, Minnesota, and they started the “Christmas City of the North” parade over 50 years ago and it continues today. I remember looking forward to watching it on our black and white TV for many years. It is still televised today, but it looks better on a color flat screen TV.
When I lived downstate in Davison near Flint, a lot of folks had the tradition of visiting Crossroads Village this time of year to ride the train and see the village all lit up. I have done it a number of times and always enjoyed it. The smiles on those young and old were always nice to see and a good time certainly seemed to be had by all. The Village is open year round but the holiday time of the year seemed to be when it was the busiest.
Not to be out done, we started a tradition at our deer camp a number of years ago that continues today. We started having a Thanksgiving dinner at camp and will hold it at camp again this year. Most of our families have folks they get together with so this gives some of the guys an opportunity to share time with their buddies and enjoy a very good meal. Turkeys are on the top of the list and we bought a new infrared cooker to try this year. The lack of oil mess will hopefully make clean-up easier and allow all of us to watch the turkey day football games together.
Our camp also has a tradition of having a ravioli dinner with the folks from the nearest neighboring camp on the eve of opening day of deer season . They started a new tradition a couple of years ago of returning the favor by having us over for a fish fry a couple of nights into the season. Those get-togethers are a lot of fun and seem to build even stronger bonds. I am not sure how this infrared turkey deal is going to work out this year so I may pick up a frozen pizza or two, just in case.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …
After a 35-year career downstate amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.
Image credit: martha_chapa95