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One of my many passions in life has become my membership in the Chagrin Valley Rotary Club. This is the greatest group of folks that you could ever know gathering weekly promoting and organizing service to others in need. At a recent meeting I had the opportunity to speak with our Rotary exchange student who is visiting us from Ecuador. He shared with me his shock of our cold weather, his amazement of the energy at an Ohio State football game and his delight with his new favorite food, barbecued ribs.
Our table conversation then led into the upcoming holidays and all the unique traditions observed by Americans at this time of year. One member recalled that “the men” of his family went hunting every Thanksgiving morning while preparations were being made for the grandest of holiday meals. There was a rather heated debate over stuffing… sausage or mushroom? Another memory was of an Italian Grandmother who always mumbled to herself while made pitzels with an iron over an open fire. When asked, “How did Grandma know when they were done?” The answer was “Grandma prayed one Hail Mary on each side”. Now that’s food made with a little extra love!
Personally, I recalled some of my childhood memories of visiting Grandpa’s farm and hoping for snow so we could sled on the big hill. We played in the barn, climbed the hay bales and Uncle Jack would always give thanks for our bountiful table… such warm and comforting memories.
Why as it that these memories and family traditions become more important and significant to me as time passes by? Is this a natural part of aging and passing of time? Is it because my children are in high school and my family soon will be collectively moving into our next stage of life? Is it due to the ever-increasing pace of time passing through my fingers? Yes, I believe it is all these things and I must… we all must slow down enough to appreciate what we have before it is too late. Too late to say thank you… too late to spend time… too late to make cherished memories.
So thank you Mateo for giving me the pause to recall my rich family traditions and the traditions of our country, the greatest country in the world. Thank you for helping me remember from where I came, to examine what may lie ahead and to put me into a proper frame of mind to appreciate today’s activities as tomorrow’s memories.
I’m committing myself to making the most of what has been so graciously laid before me. I will make special memories not just during the holidays but with every day that I am given. Every day I will make someone laugh, thank someone for who they are and make a positive influence on someone’s life. I will remember not to wait for “that special day” because there is nothing more special than… today.
I wish all of you the very best during this holiday season. I hope that some of you will (as I have been) be inspired by the gift we all have in the here and now and in turn help others appreciate the importance of today.