A family tradition

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On Sunday afternoon, two days before Christmas, two daughters, one granddaughter, and I got together to bake Christmas cookies, a family tradition that for me goes w-a-a-a-y back to when I was a child. Many years ago (mid-20th century), Christmas cards, cookies, caroling for neighbors, and a candlelight worship service on Christmas Eve were traditional holiday events for our family.  Special cookies…huge tins filled with them, provided enough sweet treats for all to enjoy over the holiday visit. My sisters and I, along with our families, would drive back to our parents’ home in southeastern Pennsylvania. There we celebrated Christmas together, singing, worshiping, baking, sharing stories, and more. We were very blessed, and we knew it. It was part of the glue that held our family together, despite the many miles that separated us.

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My childhood home

If that sounds like I’m getting old, I’ll claim the years, and, along with the years, I’ll claim the many warm and wonderful memories…and give thanks for them. Bob and I still exchange holiday cards, attend candlelight service on Christmas Eve, and last week I joined members and friends of our church choir as we went caroling for guests at local nursing homes, giving each guest a teddy bear as evidence of the love we want them to feel.

 

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Choir & friends
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Cathy’s mom with her teddy bears

However, cookie tins filled with special cookies, most of them baked only at Christmas time, was our mother’s tradition, a tradition we had dropped from our busy schedules when our parents passed on, and the family home was sold. Now my sisters are gone and none of our  children live in southeastern Pennsylvania. I am left with the precious memories of those Christmas trips to southeastern Pennsylvania and a few niggling questions:

Why did we ever stop our Christmas baking? Overly diet conscious? Busy lives? Too much shopping and wrapping? Mixed up priorities?  Whatever were we thinking? A revival of the tins-full-of-cookies-tradition was long overdue! Two years ago, Becky and Alison decided to revive it, and this week we all had a wonderful time during our second annual cookie baking session, and, as a bonus, we each went home with a tin of cookies! Granddaughter Emmy was the force behind this year’s baking session, and her Aunt Becky provided the kitchen, as well as the two dogs who kept their eyes (and noses) on the proceedings. I had a great time taking photos. Take a look!

Do you have a special holiday-time tradition? One that is the glue that holds you and your family and friends together? If you do, please tell us about it in the comments, but if your special tradition needs a revival, I’m here to tell you that it’s never too late!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
~Trail Walker

More memorable moments

My family then, then and now…# 2 in an ongoing series

On a rainy day in late November,  I went to Holden Arboretum for a photoshoot with two of our grandchildren, Michael and Emmy. A few days later, I created a blog post using the pictures from the photoshoot, along with pictures of them when they were about four and five years old. I titled it “A Fun Photoshoot.” If you missed it, you can see that blog post here.  At the time, I saw it as the beginning of a series titled My family: then and now.

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Michael and Emmy…2016

Now fast forward to today…

For about a month I have been working on my SmugMug website, bringing it up-to-date. I have seriously neglected it, so it truly needs more than a little reorganizing and updating. As I was working on that project today, searching my years of accumulated photos for snowy day pictures to use in a winter-themed gallery I want to create, I rediscovered these long ago photos of Michael, Emmy, and their cousins on the sledding hill in Chagrin River Park.

 

The discovery stopped me in my tracks and detoured me down a different trail. After a brief , “Aww, weren’t they cute” moment, I jumped into creating today’s blog post, “Number 2” in the series I mentioned above. When I come across old family pictures, my parents, sisters, children and grandchildren, I can easily lose myself in reminiscing. Many memorable moments come to mind, and I enjoy every minute of those detours.

And that brings me to the purpose of today’s post. Plain and simple, I would like to encourage you to set aside some time to dig into your photo archives. Until you do, you’ll never know what trails they will lead you down. Get out the old photo albums or that big box filled with snapshots (that hopefully someone has labeled with names and dates 😊 ) and have fun with them. I can’t think of a better snowy day project!

Thanks for joining me on the trail today. If you’ve had similar photo detour experiences, I would love to hear about them in the comments. If you dig into those old photo archives, have fun! I hope you’ll come back and share some of your memorable moments.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

 

 

A fun photoshoot

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The golden willow in Lotus Pond on this drizzly November day.

Two of our grandchildren, Michael and Emmy, siblings as Emmy described them today, are home from college for the holiday weekend.  After our family Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, I asked if they would be interested in visiting the Arboretum today for a little photoshoot. They agreed, so off we went this afternoon.

My goal was to replicate a photo I had taken of them fourteen plus years ago when their mother and I took them to the Arboretum. That beautiful spring day in 2002 they were about four and five years old  and the weather was perfect for playing around Blueberry Pond. Today’s weather was  drizzly  and only a couple degrees above 40,  but we proceeded with our plan anyway, and we had a lot of fun. Here are the pictures:

Michael, Emmy, and me in 2002

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Michael and Emmy today

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If the ground hadn’t been so soggy today, I was thinking of taking their picture on the little footbridge at the bottom of the hill. When I got home this evening and started digging through my old picture files, I wished I had gone through with the plan, despite the mud and slippery leaves, because…

Here are Michael and Emmy on the footbridge in 2002

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And here they are today overlooking the Butterfly Garden

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I can’t believe it has been over 14 years since that May day in 2002. Time flies by way too quickly; places change and people change also, especially children. Blink your eyes, turn around once or twice, and they are no longer little children. This is why I enjoy photography so much and treasure the pictures I have collected over the years. On this post-Thanksgiving day, they, the children and the pictures, mean the world to me.

Thanks, Michael and Emmy, for visiting the Arboretum with me today. It was cold and a little wet, but I had a wonderful time!  -Grandma

And thanks, blog friends, for coming along!
Trail Walker

P.S. I’m thinking I see a future series of blog posts. All I have to do is get the other grandchildren back to Ohio and take them to the Arboretum for a photoshoot. That might take a while, but I’ll file it in the back of my mind and maybe someday it will happen.

Graduation Day 2015

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Half the senior class…Emmy is somewhere in that sea of blue.

Today, graduation day for the class of 2015, was a big day for our granddaughter Emmy, Following the main event of the day, the graduation ceremony, Alison and Mike hosted a terrific brunch for Emmy and her guests at Pier W, a restaurant overlooking Lake Erie with a great view of downtown Cleveland.

Members of the Board of Education took turns presenting each student with his/her diploma. When it was time for Em to receive hers, it was handed to her, along with a hug, by a former neighbor and long time friend of the family who serves on the Board of Education. That made a significant moment even more memorable. Although we were sitting way up in the upper reaches of the State Theater where the graduation was held, I managed to grab a couple of quick shots of Emmy receiving her diploma:

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Cap, gown, and diploma in hand

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Following the ceremony, it was time for brunch and picture-taking on the patio overlooking Lake Erie (Click on a picture to scroll through the gallery).


Congratulations, Emmy. After a summer of teaching swimming lessons, you are off to college, and with two kids in college, Mom and Dad are off to work!! The years will fly by quickly. I can tell you that from personal experience. Work hard; learn a lot; make good friends; remember the values you live by; and create special memories that you will always treasure.

Love you forever,
Grandma

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