Traditions run strong in families; especially farm families; especially in my farm family. Each Sunday was the same.
First, we dressed for church with pantyhose, dresses and well ironed shirts. Next, we heard our mother honking the car horn; a signal to rush as we were late for church, again. The morning was full of coffee and friends and Jesus, and the same pew in the same row, towards the front, right hand side of the altar. By noon, when we entered the front doors of our over 100-year-old farm house, we were greeted by the smell of roast and potatoes and sweet red pickles. After the dishes were cleaned and leftovers packed away, we’d retreat to the living room to relax.
Wash, rinse and repeat. Each Sunday was beautifully routine.
Towards my junior high school years, we started a new tradition after dinner. By the way, we call the noon meal dinner although I’ve been told by many (including my non-farm boy husband) that dinner is actually an evening meal and lunch is a noon meal. On occasion I oblige and call it lunch. But we all know who’s right here. Also, ground hamburger with sauces placed on a bun is called a Yum Yum not Sloppy Joes. But I digress.
After dinner, once we made our way into the living room to relax, dad would find his recliner (one of only two I remember him owning), my sister made her way to the couch or the floor and I sat abnormally close to the television; a side effect of poor eyesight and cold toes. I had to have my feet near the heating vent at all times. Once everyone was properly cozy and dad was nearing Snoozeville, we’d hit the play button on our VCR to watch Disney’s “The Lion King.”
It played so often I memorized each line.
I was 12-years-old when the movie hit theatres, 13-years-old before we owned the VHS tape. We didn’t have cable and our VHS collection consisted of my oldest sister’s wedding footage, Dad’s old film from Vietnam and the 1994 Nebraska Cornhusker National Championship.
It’s easy to see how this movie became a favorite. Clearly, we had limited options.
Yet, at that time, in that farmhouse with a full stomach a faithful heart and a worn out VHS tape playing a movie we’d seen hundreds of times, my options felt limitless. That humble time is still one of my favorite childhood memories.
Simple traditions usually are.
My girls stayed with their grandparents (my parents) last weekend. The house has changed, the recliner hasn’t. Sunday morning I received a text message from my mom.
“Your dad crawled into bed with the girls last night and watched The Lion King to the end,” she said.
Over twenty years later, some traditions are hard to break. I hope my girls remember. I know my dad will. I have a feeling that simple memory is one of his favorites, too.