Tradition

Every Thanksgiving we would travel an hour downstate to visit my grandmother and my mother's side of the family. Every year it involved the same chaotic effort.

After getting up later than was reasonable and watching the parade as we took turns rushing in our tiny bathroom, our aim was to be in the car by noon. Not only was this a reasonable time to leave, it would also ensure that our one family tradition would be upheld.

Every year on Thanksgiving, one of the radio stations out of Baltimore plays the song Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie, which we would listen to on the drive down. It made the race against my sister's car sickness more entertaining. Even though I didn't follow the story very well until a certain age, I've long thought that the song was secretly about my Uncle David. 

To this day, I can recite long portions of this song, which I do in mixed company for those who've never heard it--true to the tradition as expressed in the song. I'm looking forward to handing down the tradition to my children, knowing full well that they'll enjoy it and do the same.