I believe in tradition.
In my big, loud, Italian family, there are all kinds of eating traditions: pasta with meatballs on Sundays, cheese, grapes and wine late at night, pastina when I’m sick, Rita’s custard in the summer and Pizzelle cookies at Christmas. Not only is the food delicious, but it brings back memories of all the other times we have eaten it together as a family. So much changes over a year that it’s nice to know that our traditions will always stay the same. I even eat the traditional food I don’t like when my grandmother makes it, because I know she would be offended if I didn’t. Not to mention, my dead ancestors would roll in their graves at the thought of an Italian girl turning down Italian food. My family moved from New York, where all the rest of our relatives live, to Cincinnati, so it’s even more important for my mother to make the traditional dishes like eggplant parmesan, baked ziti, and marinara sauce from scratch. She pushes me to learn how so that I can make it for my kids and carry on the family recipes.
Then there’s our yearly vacation to Long Beach Island with both sides of my family. We go to our usual restaurants and play our annual pitch tournament, “The Nacho Bowl”. For this tournament, my precocious little cousin James makes an official bracket where everyone must sign up in teams of two. Stephen, my brother, and Michael, my cousin, (referred to as “The Goober Brothers” because of their timeless and idiotic antics) make large amounts of loaded nachos for the players to eat. Long Beach Island is so thin that while we live on the “beach” side of the island, the bay, on the other side, is only two blocks away. All the girls walk down at night together to watch the beautiful sunset over the placid bay water. The island gets more and more developed from year to year, but some things will always stay. For instance, the giant Ferris wheel at Fantasy Island, a small amusement park with all sorts of rides and overpriced arcade prizes. The island just wouldn’t be the same without it.
When I say tradition, I don’t necessarily mean something that has been going on for 100 years. Starting traditions is just as meaningful as keeping up old ones. For example, I had three best friends in junior high and we felt unstoppable. Unfortunately, we are currently all at different high schools. Now that we are old enough to drive, I proposed that we all go out for Sunday brunch every week. I really enjoy getting to hear about what’s going on in their lives, and we are probably closer this way than we would be just seeing each other at school. So in the end I guess it was fortunate that we got split up because we wouldn’t have started this tradition if we hadn’t.
Tradition is something I can always fall back on, and almost never goes bad. It’s like a “proven good time”, which is why people keep it going. I believe that tradition draws people together with those who have come before them. I feel drawn to those who have already graduated from CCDS when I partake in traditions they started or enjoyed years ago. Even being an American, I keep traditions such as celebrating the fourth of July. I can even have traditions with people I don’t even know, such as Americans in general, and others that are unique to me and my family or friends. These small traditions hold me together with people close to me, like my friends and family, no matter how many miles separate us.
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