Holiday Traditions (Kathy Pritchett)

Ah, holiday traditions. Family wars have begun because someone dared to change something so sacrosanct. In my family, however, we have always had to adjust the days we celebrate because either my brother, my husband, my nephew or my son was working as a firefighter or EMT. We had to await coinciding days off and travel plans to get together.

               Once my kids left home, celebrations became even more difficult. The Christmas my first granddaughter was born, we gathered by phone call from Vietnam to the rest of us in Kansas. Once my daughter began working at Dollywood, she couldn’t come home until after the season closed in January. When the Army transferred my oldest stateside instead of Hawaii, we started the tradition of Christmas in January. Sometimes we gathered at my son’s house in Maryland, sometimes at their timeshare in Tennessee to visit Kellye at Dollywood.

The year my son and his wife announced their pregnancy during a game of Catchphrase (the one tradition that has remained constant), we were at the Presidential Suite in the timeshare in Colonial Williamsburg. We visited Jamestown and ate lunch at a tavern in Old Williamsburg. We had the pool and mini golf to ourselves and watched deer frolic in the meadow. Logan’s first meeting with his cousins was at Ft. Lauderdale (because it was cold in Maryland, Virginia and Tennessee). I scheduled my daughter’s and her husband’s flight to coincide with Casey and Kim’s connections. Kellye and Chaz met them getting off the first plane and were seated across the aisle for the second leg of the trip.

Then last Christmas, due to the Dollywood schedule, we had to delay Christmas until Valentine’s Day so Kate and Alex (and their mother Beth, their teacher) could be out of school. That week the East Coast suffered record cold and a foot of snow. That was fun, had the snow not snarled air traffic, leaving us stranded overnight in the Dallas airport with a two-year-old. So this year, in addition to our new tradition of meeting in Tennessee for Labor Day because the rest of the family could not wait till Christmas to meet new grandbaby Scarlett, we are having Christmas in Tennessee in April.

  
              As for my characters, Richard and Terra have yet to celebrate a Christmas together, but that will play a role in their next tale, Convergence. And Scott is facing a Christmas alone. Stay tuned for more developments there.

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