This I Believe

Caitlin - Esparto, California
Entered on December 20, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
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Caitlin Nichols

The delicious smell of cinnamon from the hot apple cider, the familiar laughs coming from every room in the house, the crackling of the flames in the fire, the frosty air outside, the coming together of friends and family all makes me believe how important the tradition of Christmas and tradition in general are. Our Christmas traditions are very important to me; it’s a chance for us to spend time with our large extended family. Every year we have a Christmas party throughout the night people come from all over and the house is full with all kinds of food, warmth and conversation.

Being a part of my family; I know what tradition means. My father’s Family has been in the Capay Valley for over a hundred years. After 12 years of living in the Valley, I moved to Esparto with my family. Even though we were only ten minutes from our old house I still felt like I was missing something of my father’s family history. This is why my annual camping trip with my dad, is another important tradition of mine. Every June we go camping with my dad and all of his friends from high school. Every year we pack up the truck with plenty of food, sleeping bags, hook up the boat and head out on the two hour trip into the hills to Ladoga. The trip consists of me and my dad listening to our favorite country songs and him telling me stories of his childhood, as we pass things that remind him of them. The group of 30 or 40 rent a huge private campsite; with our own little cove that leads out to the reservoir. We spend the entire weekend in the warm June sun going boating, fishing, swimming, playing cards, just relaxing. At meal time everyone makes their own thing and then we bring it all together and eat as one big group. Then at night we all gather around the fire and roast marshmallows and tell stories or play the guitar. Spending this time at Ladoga with all of these people makes me feel at home. For the time I’m up there all my worries seem to be forgotten, it’s my own little piece of heaven.

Every time we celebrate tradition my heart skips a beat and I get this feeling that nothing could go wrong. I believe in the power of tradition, whether it’s bringing family and friends together or taking us back to our roots; tradition is a part of each of us, tying us to our past and preparing us to face our future.