Annual cabin trip …
Every fall, usually in October, I head to a cabin in Hocking Hills for a weekend with my girl gang.
The annual cabin trip started about a year after we graduated from Ohio University. And we’ve kept the tradition going over the last seven years through job relocations, marriages and growing families.
We keep in touch with a group message throughout the year, but the cabin trip gives us time to relax and reconnect in person without spouses or kids in tow. Our cabin, and our agenda, changes year to year but always includes a trip to Athens to relive a bit of those years when we all became friends and snap a group photo on College Green. With any luck, we’ll be taking that photo for decades to come.
Handmade costumes …
For many years, Halloween meant lots of relatives at the Desrosiers household. Nieces and nephews would visit and walk the neighborhood with our three children. Together, this motley crew comprised about half of the total number of kids roaming our typically quiet street.
They shared something in common besides a common set of grandparents: In the roughly 15-year span our kids participated in trick-or-treating, not once did any of them wear a store-bought costume. Each was handcrafted, either sewn from new material—a British redcoat or Mulan, for example—or cobbled together from other existing garments and accessories, such as a baseball player, Pocahontas or The Blue Brothers.
One of my daughter’s big thrills was being recognized as the somewhat obscure Anne of Green Gables, so detailed and accurate was her outfit, made without a pattern. My sons’ dinosaur, red-eyed tree frog and Crayola crayon also made impressions.
Aunts and uncles still get together some years to pass out candy, to reminisce and to rate the costumes we see from a new generation of kids and their parents. Do they compare with our alien? Minnie Mouse? Union Civil War soldier? Not very often.
Apple picking …
Apples. Every year, in early October, my dad went out and got a bushel of fresh apples from a farmer on the other side of town.
I know you’re thinking, “This is a purchase, not a tradition.” But, the apple buying became so ritualistic—so expected by dad’s offspring—that it crossed the line from simple consumption to family custom.
We’d go along, my siblings and I, and help carry the basket to the car, one kid on each handle, with my dad hovering to stick a hand on if one of his children faltered. I give him credit for watching out for us but also understand that he was protecting his treats from rolling out onto the ground.
When we got home, we all ate. Apple after crisp apple was downed while watching football games or favorite situation comedies on television. At least one a day. We weren’t trying to keep the doctor away. On the contrary, he would have been welcome to sit down and partake in a McIntosh if he had stopped by for a visit.