Now that you have the song from Fiddler on the Roof going through your head I will give you a few moments to clear it out……..there….that ought to do it. Let me tell you what has me thinking of traditions today.
Every year my family has a week that is designated as Lakeside week. Lakeside on Lake Erie is the home of the East (and West) Ohio Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. My family has a long history of being a part of the United Methodist Church because both my father and grandfather were ministers with the denomination. Now my sister is also an ordained elder so the tradition continues. But maybe more than the tradition of ministry in my family is the tradition of being in Lakeside.
Lakeside to me is home. It is the one place that has remained basically the same for me in my 54 years of life. I have had the opportunity to move numerous times and live in a myriad of places in my lifetime but Lakeside has been my touchstone. It has been the one place that I come back to year after year and is part of my heritage .
According to Wikipedia a tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. Lakeside is that for me—it has special significance to me and to my family.
When I was growing up there were three families that became friends and always had fun together. The Klines, Mustards and Browns all had kids around the same ages and with the fathers being ministers the group came to be a pretty tight knit group of friends. One of our traditions was to have a yearly picnic. It was usually towards the end of the week so that we could use up all the leftovers in the refrigerators before we all headed back home. Last year we resurrected the picnic after years of not having it any more and I think it is here to stay. The amazing thing to me is that now the mantle has basically been passed. The original 6 adults are no longer living with the exception of my mom but the children and their children and now their children are all continuing the tradition of spending time at one of the places that they remember from their childhoods. It is a tradition that has been passed down and maintained.
What is so special about Lakeside? A lot of things. It is one of the few remaining places that fosters a safe and totally family friendly environment. From the quaint downtown shops, the Patio ice cream treats, the movie theater, shuffleboard courts, miniature golf and fishing off the dock—there is something for everyone. Lakeside has worked very diligently over the past few years to upgrade their image and to maintain the environment that makes folks want to come back year after year.
Not only is Lakeside the home to the Annual Conferences it is one of the last remaining Chautauqua communities and after East Ohio Annual Conference is over it becomes a gated community with a plethora of activities for the residents and visitors to enjoy. A Chautauqua community offers a retreat / resort like atmosphere that combines religious observation, summer education, recreation and cultural opportunities. There is so much going on with concerts and activities for both adults and children.
Traditions are so important in these days when it is so easy to lose sight of the simpler things in life. My tradition of coming to Lakeside, spending time with family and friends catching up, relaxing by Lake Erie with a book or a fishing pole, swatting the mayflies away and avoiding the light poles where they congregate at night, shopping in the little shops downtown, worshipping in Hoover Auditorium and staying in cottages that have a charm of their own is something that I am glad is part of my life.
As I reflect today on the blessings of Lakeside I know that I am not alone in my love of this place. I am sure many other folks have similar feelings.
What about you? Do you have a tradition? A place or a thing that you do that you love and always want to keep as part of your life??? I would love to hear about it. Feel free to share in the comments.