A cross-country trip to uphold a family tradition

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 5, 2015

About a week ago my wife walked into my office and told me she had a wild idea. “Let’s go to California and surprise my family,” she said.

Before I convinced her to marry me and leave beautiful sunny Southern California for the Land of Cotton she had a tradition of going to buy fireworks with her dad on the Fourth of July. Since she has been in the South, her dad misses that tradition. He made mention of it when he gave a toast at our wedding and mentions how he misses it whenever we see him.

Making that trip would require us to miss our family tradition of watching the City of Vicksburg’s fireworks show from the lawn of the Old Court House Museum. We go every year, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the sounds of the concert before watching the main event. It’s a tradition that I look forward to every year and can understand how my father-in-law feels; after all he had 33 years of that particular tradition.

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Usually a trip to California requires planning and some advance notice for those we are going to be staying with. However, we decided to only tell one of her brothers and his wife know, since we would need to be picked up from the airport.

Her brother made sure to gather all the family in place by calling the family together for dinner at a nearby restaurant. The family was aflutter with rumors as they speculated that he and his wife would announce they were pregnant. No one wanted to miss that announcement.

My brother-in-law picked us from the airport and we drove to the restaurant and parked as far away as we could. He and his wife went ahead and got everyone seated and sent us a text to let us know we could make our entrance.

Catherine and I almost made it to the table before her sister saw us and burst into tears and her dad’s jaw dropped. I could have pushed him over with a feather.

He was so shocked to see us and to be able to continue his tradition that his eyes swelled with tears as he gave us a big hug.

Saturday morning my father-in-law and my wife went fireworks shopping and a tradition continued.

Traditions are the ties that bind families together and I hope you have traditions of your own.