Posted: January 5, 2012
Written by: Justin S.
How do traditions begin? Why do we feel the need to have traditions in our families? Do we have traditions to carry on a family ritual or to remember someone that may no longer be with us? I am writing about a tradition that my parents and I have started, within the last two years, that have a lot of different meanings behind it. Last month, for the second straight year, I took my family and parents down to Union Station in Kansas City to see the model train displays. What a great thing to do with your family (and to see how nicely the Station was decorated). We had a great time looking at the different train displays that were on hand, especially the detailing of the model train sets. You also had an opportunity to meet Santa Claus, but that is something we decided not to do this year – Christmas was over by the time we went to the Station! My 14 month old daughter had a great time walking around the Union Station. This tradition is an especially a neat time for my mom and I because it brings back some great memories of my grandfather.
My grandfather, John Riordan, was from Connecticut and worked on the railroad system out on the east coast all of his life. My grandfather and mom were really close. He really got a kick out of her following him around at the railroad stations and playing on the caboose while she was growing up. I remember in my childhood how my grandfather was a HUGE Red Sox fan, as was my mom, and how he took a special interest in me while I was growing up playing baseball. I remember as a child we had a train set that would go around our Christmas tree each year. We also had a little model train set that my brothers originally put together and I later played with while growing up. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away in 1994. Still today, every time I see a train or hear one, I can’t help but think of him and all of the great times I had with him when I was growing up.
I believe traditions are opportunities to remember some of the people who are no longer around and to create special moments or memories as each year goes by. It is also a time to reflect on some past memories that we have from certain events that we had with those people who did have a significant impact on our lives and made us feel special. Although my daughter will never have the opportunity to meet my grandfather, I can pass along certain things about him to her from some of the events or traditions we create. I have already started the process of having her become the next Red Sox fan in our family! When the Holiday Season comes around next year, going out to Union Station will be something on our to do list.