It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I’m big on tradition. Not just carrying on those that work for me, but creating and sustaining new ones. At school, in Orff courses, in the neighborhood, with family and friends, life is a revolving door of ever-recurring traditions that all involved look forward to and enjoy.
When my wife and I moved into our present house in 1982, our first neighborhood activity was tree-planting, soon followed by Christmas caroling, Easter egg hunts, 4th of July picnic and pumpkin-carving at Halloween. All those original neighbors have moved or passed on, but still we continue with the Christmas caroling with a mix of old-timers, newcomers and children of our children.
I particularly miss the pumpkin-carving neighborhood gathering. So up here in Portland visiting the grandkids, my daughter organized her own pumpkin-carving party with her neighbors and how wonderful was that?! Very. The same feeling of the ones she knew as a child carried on in a new place with new people.
In a time when change keeps accelerating, links to the past are being broken and hopes for the future are being dashed, there is a great deal of comfort being in a room full of people with knives, gooey hands, animated chatter and imaginative handwork. We may feel overwhelmed by the big picture, but we are in control of the small picture and why not take time to do simple things with neighbors that bring comfort and joy? I highly recommend it.