Your comments continue to gladden my heart. And while I valued every one of the readers of Victoria, it is especially wonderful hearing that young people were coming to our pages. And one all the way around the world from Sydney.
I am in my home in Ames, Iowa, where we plan to spend Thanksgiving. Going back and forth between two residences--1,500 miles apart--has its charms and its hassles. For example, the night I left the New York area, the Yankees decided to play in The World Series. I am (and have always been) a Yankees fan, but the traffic jam getting to the airport made me wonder. They redeemed themselves by winning. And the pilot of our plane got us to Des Moines a whole 45 minutes early. What culture shock coming from streams and streams of cars to highways almost deserted. Of course, it was ten o'clock at night. While New York is the city that never sleeps, Des Moines most definitely does.
A few years ago, the city of Ames took it into their heads to tear our house down in order to widen the street I live on. We live in an old section of the city, and our house was built by a local architect in 1937. (Would you believe that the apartment I live in on the Hudson River was built the same year by the same chaps who were responsible for the Empire State Building?) Ours was not the only house or property in danger and what was really lovely was that the citizens of Ames came to our rescue saying they didn't mind waiting a few more minutes at a traffic light. They didn't want to see fellow residents lose their homes. There's something about these Midwesterners that makes one very proud.
Our house is here for this Thanksgiving and we hope for many more to come. Because it is near my husband's Iowa family roots, it's something of a museum of family things, although over the years we have given some treasures to an historic house nearby. Our son's artwork still graces the wall at the bottom of the staircase, and my mother-in-law's "art treasures" hang in the dining room. She bought them on her world tour of Europe, and my husband grew up with them. How different my two homes are. While I have many family treasures in both places, the ones here seem to defy time. They seem to defy whim. There's a certain "don't tread on me" when it comes to style and sophistication. Rather nice.
Great-grandfather Robert Walton looks down from the mantel--his elegant profile made more majestic by the Grand Army of the Republic hat he is wearing. His picture is next to an old clock that belonged to my husband's grandmother from his dad's side. It hasn't worked for years and has defied all effort to have it keep time. Today I found a huge laundry bag at the back of the closet--our son's name was stamped on it. It's the one he took to camp when he was 12. How could I part with it? Back it goes.
We have all been talking about keeping traditions--and the best part of the discussion is the creation of new ones. I must admit that my family always tells me I call forth tradition on anything that's been done more than once. So be it. As so many of you have suggested, it's the glue that makes families. I've loved hearing from you, and hope you continue to jot down ways you keep the holidays as we travel along this season.