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Get To Know Us: A Family Tradition I Love

In today's blog post, team member Audra talks about a tradition close to her heart, that celebrates the special bond of family during the holiday season.

Ever since I can remember, my family has always gathered at my great Aunt Ruth’s house for Christmas, sitting at the table that my great grandfather made years ago. We would open presents and eat (in my eyes) the most incredible dinner that has been passed down for generations. I have the same feeling every time I go…Christmas break during high school, coming home from college, and now bringing my kids to her cozy little ranch house. It has always been so welcoming and truly feels like home.


I never realized how much work went into the Christmas feast, but as I grew older, I started noticing how much preparation and hard work went into making the infamous dinner that my family all came to love and gathered together to share. It took about a three-day prep to get everything together, and by the time I was older, I was in awe at how much work my great Aunt did to see the smile on all our faces.


There came a time about nine years ago when I saw my Aunt Ruth growing more fragile with age. I remember my dad telling me her last year here, “You know that you are the one who has to learn how to carry on the tradition. Aunt Ruth would love your company to teach you. If you don’t learn, I don’t know that we will ever be able to experience this dinner again.”


I was up for the task. So, I went to her house for four days straight to learn all the secrets she wouldn’t let another soul learn. After all, she was never married, never had children, and I think this was her gift to us, to always make sure we were there together for every holiday. In my eyes, it wasn’t the food that got us to come, but it was her warmth and company that made us look forward to it year after year. So, for those four days I wrote down every measurement (as best I could, she never used measurements), and took every note.


I still have that exact notebook. We laughed, we talked about our favorite memories, and she told me how she always wanted us to sit at that specific table each time we came together for the holidays. I gave her my promise.


Years have passed since then, and every Thanksgiving and Christmas I now get to pass on the gift that she gave to all us for so many years. Good food, a giving heart, and the spirit of the holiday for all to enjoy...at the same table that my father has since moved to his house since Aunt Ruth's passing. He even had a professional carpenter build inserts to accommodate our growing family. This tradition lives on in her name, and I’m proud and blessed that she taught me everything she knew. While we miss her terribly, when we all get together around that table, we are thankful for her and everything she did, and what she taught us. And that’s what it’s all about. Giving, loving, and tradition.

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