I woke up on a Sunday morning to the smell of sweet coffee and the perky voice of Allyssa letting me know that “everyone” was downstairs and breakfasting. You could tell it was a cold morning but I didn’t know how traditionally “winter” of a day it would be.
This isn’t a story of the perfect day where everything fell fitted as a piece of the puzzle. No, this is a story of a day we carved out for ourselves.
So, we ate breakfast, and we downed coffee, and we sipped champagne! Then we, Morgan, Nick, Allyssa, and I bundled up to face the day and the task of getting a Christmas tree.
A Christmas tree brings a part of nature into the home. Its evergreen branches symbolize the everlasting life Christ gave us. It marks a feeling of warmth in winter that Christmas is to me. The Christmas tree gilds memories into Rockwellian scenes of fires, food, and fraternity with family and friends. Placing that tree in the home reminds us that with Christmas life is just a little more full than we thought.
Cutting down the Frasier fir ourselves added a new element to the tree finding for me this year. In the cold weather, the chockablock character of my company forged what I hope becomes an annual tradition.
I’ve written often about tradition. I know my upbringing taught me traditions. Now, making new traditions to fit in alongside the old, comes more often and more easily to me.
Recording these experiences, these carved out traditions, perpetuates them and fits them in with the old, together for a more reverent, full life.
A year ago I sat in the main hall at the German Hungarians and Allyssa said to me, presumably after an entire day and a half of my dogmatizing on the wonders of the Kirchweihfest, “Why is this day so special to you?”
I am not going to tell this story as though I smiled roguishly and looked at her to deliver the most heartfelt, simple yet eloquent line about what the fest is and what it means to me. Only people in books, on TV and in movies spit out the perfect line like they’ve had days, and notebooks, and pencils worth to come up with it.
The truth is that I don’t remember what I said that night exactly. I could make up something that would be close to what I said and I could have written it here making for a better story here for you to read. The thing is that wouldn’t be real so I’m not going to do that. What I am going to do is write down the answer to that question because that’s how I do best. This answer though, is one year, and what seems like a lifetime of memories and experiences later.
I was at an affair with the dance group and the Heimatklänge a few weeks ago and as they played some classic number I listened and watched them from my place next to Allyssa. I think the tune reminded me the Kirchweih was a few weeks away and memories reminded me of the exchange I mentioned above. As I watched the red bellows of Dino’s accordion, that red, rich red, rich Heimatklänge red seemed alive. Alive like the atmosphere of the room during the Kirchweihfest. The Kirchweihfest where we see the proud faces of our grandparents. The joy of our parents when we move with them to the polkas of the band. The strong words and the crafted message of the Geldherr when he speaks to us all. The calling “Buwe was ham’r Heit?” and the powerful response. The musical notes of the Kirchweih Walzer as you hold your Kirchweih Madel dancing with the good luck of the Rosmarein Strauss.
For me all of this is colorful, peaceful, beautiful, and each year the Kirchweihfest is unique in some way. This year my tradition will be once again. This year, the answer to the question why the day is special to me is answered in everything I’ve written so far and in this one great addition. This year I have for the first time my own Kirchweih Madel. This year she answers the question for me.