Tag Archives: family traditions

Our traditional holiday lies

22 Nov

“I’m worried about the package,” my sister told me when we Skyped on Sunday. “I had to go to a different post office and the clerk gave me trouble.”

“How so?” I asked.

“Well, I lied, as always. Instead of saying the package contained tea, I said it contained chocolate. The clerk said it was a violation of Canadian and American law to send chocolate throughout the mail. So I said it was candy. I’m worried she flagged it for inspection.”

I laughed. We are always lying to federal officials on both sides of the border, about what our packages contain. They never contain anything illegal, but we lie just in case.

When I arrived home last night, I mounted the stairs chanting my new apres-knee mantra: “Good foot up, bad foot down”. I can walk unassisted, but am using a cane for security. As I reached the top step, I looked up and saw a small package at my door stoop. Oh, to be able to run or skip! It was, of course, my illicit Advent calendar.

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I sent a quick message to my sister then opened this tiny cabinet of wonders.

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One tea a day until Christmas! As a naturally curious person, I had to peek at my birthday. What tea would December 23 hold?

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Organic Kashmiri Chai! I resisted the temptation to peek at any others. I just have to wait patiently for 8 days, until I can open the first drawer.

 

 

 

Family History

11 May

My Aunt Dorothy is the family genealogist. She has traced my ancestors past the first Gillespie’s in my family tree to come to Canada, back through all the people in England and Ireland, into the early 1700’s.

IN his new book, My Family Tree and Me,  Dušan Petričić provides a beautifully simple introduction to the concept of family ancestry.

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Front Cover               Back Cover

It uses two stories in one to explore a small boy’s family tree: the boy tells the family story of his father’s side starting from the front of the book, and that of his mother’s side starting from the back of the book. Four previous generations are introduced for each, from his great-great-grandparents to his parents. The grand finale in the center of the book reveals the boy’s entire extended family, shown in one drawing with all the members from both sides identified by their relationship to him.

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Along the similar lines is A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, ONe Delicious Treat, written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.

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This is a story about blackberry fool and how the making of the delicious dessert has changed, and remained the same, over four centuries.

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While not exactly a work of history, it is historical fiction and reminded me of the family history project we had the kids do when I last taught 7th grade. This would be a great mentor text for this kind of project because it clearly shows the connection between past and present, what has changed and what has stayed the same.

Both of these books would be excellent introductions to some aspect of family history, whether for a school project or just personal curiosity. Every family has its story to tell.

Randy Ribay

YA author, teacher, nerd

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