Traditions are important to the smooth running of a household. Just as a pillar of smoke at the Vatican informs the masses a new Pope is on the rise, a steady stream of smoke out my kitchen window indicates I need to make a trip to the store for another roast victim for dinner.
Tradition also helps alert my family that a change in dinner plans is on the way when they see me hurl the pot lids around the kitchen like ring toss at the county fair. They know from experience it’s not a good time to ask me for exact change for the newspaper boy or to invite 12 of their closest friends over for a video game marathon, or to inquire whether I washed their shin guards after last season’s championship game. They also know that a spirited volley of chicken nugget dodge ball with the dog means we’ll be scanning the plastic covered menu at Nacho Mama before the sun sinks below guacamole level.
To me, tradition means trustworthy and reliable. To the kids it spells boring, even if you don’t stop to buy a vowel.
“What’s for eats?” one boy asked the ceiling as he arched a knot of dirty socks in the general direction of what would be the laundry basket had I not reorganized the clutter.
“Meatloaf,” I said brightly, skimming the sweaty socks off the microwave.
“Gross. I’ll make a pizza."
This kid hurls dirty footwear at the appliances and eats perma frost in the shape of cheese shreds and he thinks meatloaf is gross?
Meanwhile, the other son has created a Dagwood sandwich extravaganza with cheese spilling down the sides like the Great Flood, and now is rambling through the contents of the refrigerator looking for cocktail onions. I peered at his bending form, illuminated by the refrigerator light.
“Dinner’s almost ready.”
“Yeah. Meatloaf. It’s Monday.
“Yeah. You always make food that starts with the same letter as the day. I think it’s some sort of prehistoric filing system.”
“So what am I making tomorrow?”
“That’s easy. Tuesday is Takeout. I’ll be on time.”
While I don’t think I’ve called for takeout every Tuesday, it’s either that or turkey pot pie. The more I think about the Takeout Tradition, the more nostalgic I get. Takeout. Hmmm, that starts with T and that rhymes with E and that stands for Easy!
Now that’s a tradition I can live with!