Wednesday, June 29, 2016

there's no place like [gin]

as a kid, with lots of relatives in western kansas, i attended my share of weddings, all of which  incorporated volga german traditions; the wedding march, the singing of the brautlied (bride's song), the flying dutchman and many other polka's.  i enjoyed them because my grandfather loved them and i knew they were part of my heritage.

it took moving 1,800 miles away from my home to realize just why these traditions are so important.

with a touch of homesickness last month, my fiancee suggested that we throw a "june" bucket party. this was a party held by my friends back in kansas every june which included a large cocktail drink known as a gin bucket; a party i was going to miss this year.  however with her suggestion, i was immediately excited!  we invited all our new friends and started planning.  i was meticulous down to every detail, annoying my fiancee with discussions of correct bucket sizes and number of basters.  

the night of the party, all of our new found friends and neighbors came over. they were a little apprehensive about this gin concoction involving drinking communally from a large bucket with turkey basters, however after a few "bastes," everyone was on board.  the night ended up being a wonderful time and all our new friends became better friends that night.

i couldn't have been happier that night. i was like tevye dancing around the streets of anatevk shouting out "tradition!"  somewhere between joking about getting "basted" and eating "walking tacos" out of doritos bags, portland maine started to feel a little bit more like home.

a few days later my fiance and i did a little wedding planning.  still reeling in the happiness of the tradition of june bucket and thinking about our upcoming wedding i began to think about all the volga german traditions i'd like to include.  that's when it hit me.  these weren't just simple songs and dances you did at weddings just for the fun of it; theses were traditions brought over from my ancestors who had left their home.  songs and dances that reminded them of good times with friends and family they were now apart from.  traditions bought over that helped this new world they found themselves in seem a little less scary. familiar tunes and lyrics they could get lost in and feel like they were home again. a little piece of their old life that helped make their new life feel more like home.  these traditions were tiny seeds of a world they once knew that they could plant in a new place.  with time and love those seeds took root and became a whole new tradition, the wedding songs and dances i knew as a kid a hundred years after they were planted.

who knows if my great great grandchildren will be throwing june bucket parties in a hundred years, but there have been requests for a repeat in 2017.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are wise beyond your years!